Mammalian epithelia are critically dependent on interactions with components in the underlying basal lamina for proper morphogenesis and function. Substratum attachment is essential for survival, proliferation, movement, and differentiation; detachment compromises the cell's ability to perform these functions, often resulting in human disease. Interactions with the extracellular matrix are mediated through transmembrane integrin receptors that transmit signals to the cytoskeleton and to signaling molecules within the proliferating cells of the epithelium. In the past year, novel insights have emerged regarding the specific role of integrins in their attachment to extracellular matrix and in their signal transduction pathways within the epidermis.
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