Signal transduction by cell adhesion receptors

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1995 Jul 28;1242(1):77-98. doi: 10.1016/0304-419x(95)00005-z.


Over the last few years, it has become clear that cell adhesion receptors function in signal transduction processes leading to the regulation of cell growth and differentiation. Signal transduction by both integrins and CAMs has been shown to involve activation of tyrosine kinases, while CAM signaling in neural cells involves G proteins as well. In the case of integrins, some of the downstream signaling events intersect with the Ras pathway, particularly the activation of MAP kinases. In fibroblasts, integrin mediated anchorage to the substratum regulates cell cycle traverse, while in epithelial cells, loss of anchorage can trigger programmed cell death. In many cell types, but particularly monocytic cells, integrin ligation has a profound impact on gene expression. Preliminary evidence also implicates CAMs and selectins in gene regulation. A consistent theme in signal transduction mediated by adhesion receptors concerns the role of the cytoskeleton. Integrin mediated signaling processes are interrupted by cytoskeletal disassembly. Identification of the APC and neurofibromatosis type 2 tumor suppressors suggest that cytoskeletal complexes also play a key role in signaling by cadherins and CD44, respectively. Thus, signaling by cell adhesion receptors may involve aspects that impinge on previously known signaling pathways including the RTK/Ras pathway and serpentine receptor/G protein pathways. However, novel aspects of signal transduction involving cytoskeletal assemblies may also be critical.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Integrins / physiology*
  • L-Selectin
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / physiology
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Cadherins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Integrins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing
  • L-Selectin
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases