ISSN 0371-0874, CN 31-1352/Q

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Integrin activation, focal adhesion maturation and tumor metastasis

HUANG Meng-Wen1, LIN Chang-Dong1, CHEN Jian-Feng1,2,*

1State Key Laboratory of Cell Biology, Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China;2School of Life Science, Hangzhou Institute for Advanced Study, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hangzhou 310024, China


Integrins are a large family of heterodimeric cell adhesion molecules composed of α and β subunits. Through interaction with their specific ligands, integrins mediate cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions. Via outside-in signaling, integrins can recruit cytoplasmic proteins to their intracellular domains and then cluster into supramolecular structures and trigger downstream signaling. Integrin activation is associated with a global conformation rearrangement from bent to extended in ectodomains and the separation of α and β subunit cytoplasmic domains. During cell migration, integrins regulate the focal adhesion dynamics and transmit forces between the extracellular matrix and the cell cytoskeleton. In tumor microenvironment, integrins on multiple kinds of cells could be activated, which modulates cell migration into tumor and contributes to angiogenesis and tumor metastasis. Here, we review the mechanism of integrin activation, dynamics of focal adhesions during cell migration and tumor metastasis.

Key words: integrin; activation; focal adhesion; cell migration; angiogenesis

Received: 2020-07-03  Accepted: 2021-04-02

Corresponding author: CHEN Jian-Feng  E-mail:,

Citing This Article:

HUANG Meng-Wen, LIN Chang-Dong, CHEN Jian-Feng. Integrin activation, focal adhesion maturation and tumor metastasis. Acta Physiol Sin 2021; 73 (2): 151-159 (in Chinese with English abstract).