Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Integrins are heterodimeric cell-surface molecules, which act as the principle mediators of molecular dialog between a cell and its extracellular matrix environment. In addition to their structural functions, integrins mediate signaling from the extracellular space into the cell through integrin-associated signaling and adaptor molecules such as FAK (focal adhesion kinase), ILK (integrin-linked kinase), PINCH (particularly interesting new cysteine-histidine rich protein) and Nck2 (non-catalytic (region of) tyrosine kinase adaptor protein-2). Via these molecules, integrin signaling tightly and cooperatively interacts with receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) signaling to regulate survival, proliferation and cell shape as well as polarity, adhesion, migration and differentiation. In the heart and blood vessels, the function and regulation of these molecules can be partially disturbed and thus contribute to cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac hypertrophy and atherosclerosis. In this review, we discuss the primary mechanisms of action and signaling of integrins in the cardiac and vascular system in normal and pathological states, as well as therapeutic strategies for targeting these systems (1).