Dissecting Functional Roles of specific integrins in epithelial cells
A polarized structure, and directional growth and migration of epithelial cells are crucial for both organ development and maintenance of their asymmetric functions, such as excretion of waste in the kidney. The ECM, deposited by the cells themselves, not only scaffolds tissues but is also rich in regulatory signals that orchestrate cellular functions and responses. For example, laminin-rich basement membranes (BMs) orient the polarity of epithelial cells in an integrin-dependent manner. How integrins convey signals from the ECM into the cells is not thoroughly understood. Importantly, cells also actively modify the surrounding ECM. Even subtle dysfunctions in this reciprocal communication can disrupt organ functionality. Therefore, it is important to build up comprehensive knowledge of the regulation of epithelial cell function by cell–ECM interactions. Integrin functions are known to be central to development as well as to epithelial pathologies, but more detailed studies addressing their specific roles at a cellular level are still necessary. By employing functional genomics approaches in various epithelial model systems we are studying the cellular functions of specific integrins and their potential functional crosstalk.
Last updated: 28.10.2016