Integrins are a large family of transmembrane receptors for extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules. They play a critical role in organ morphogenesis, physiology and pathology, as they can modulate and control different cell functions, including adhesion, shape, polarity, growth, differentiation and motility. Integrins interact with ECM components via their extracellular domains, while their cytoplasmic domains play a pivotal role in mediating integrin-dependent cellular functions. The integrin cytoplasmic tails interact with the cytoskeleton, signaling molecules and other cellular proteins, resulting in regulation of many biological functions. In this review, we will mainly describe the role of integrins in regulating cell motility and discuss some new paradigms in integrin biology that may impact upon nephrology with respect to renal development and renal functions during both physiological and pathological events.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel