Spatiotemporal control of integrin-mediated cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is critical for physiological and pathological events in multicellular organisms, such as embryonic development, angiogenesis, platelet aggregation, leukocytes extravasation, and cancer cell metastatic dissemination. Regulation of integrin adhesive function and signaling relies on the modulation of both conformation and traffic. Indeed, integrins exist in a dynamic equilibrium between a bent/closed (inactive) and an extended/open (active) conformation, respectively endowed with low and high affinity for ECM ligands. Increasing evidence proves that, differently to what hypothesized in the past, detachment from the ECM and conformational inactivation are not mandatory for integrin to get endocytosed and trafficked. Specific transmembrane and cytosolic proteins involved in the control of ECM proteolytic fragment-bound active integrin internalization and recycling exist. In the complex masterplan that governs cell behavior, active integrin traffic is key to the turnover of ECM polymers and adhesion sites, the polarized secretion of endogenous ECM proteins and modifying enzymes, the propagation of motility and survival endosomal signals, and the control of cell metabolism.
- Cell Adhesion/physiology
- Cell Membrane/metabolism
- Cell Movement
- Extracellular Matrix/metabolism
- Extracellular Matrix Proteins/metabolism
- Protein Conformation
- Protein Transport/physiology