Integrin β4 in Neural Cells

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Integrin β4, one of the heterodimeric receptors, is expressed predominantly on epithelial cells. It is concentrated at the basement membrane zone, where it localizes to specialized adhesion structures called hemidesmosomes. In addition to its adhesive functions, novel insights have emerged regarding the specific roles of integrin β4 in their attachment to extracellular matrix and in their signal transduction pathways within the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system in the past few years. It has been reported that integrin β4 is expressed in several kinds of neural cells including astrocyte, Schwann cells, neurons, and neural stem cells. In the mean while, it is expressed by some Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system and mediated the Mycobacterium leprae invade the peripheral nervous system to reach the Schwann cells. This review highlights recent progress in the function and regulation of integrin β4 in neural cells.

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