Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules

2018 Edition
| Editors: Sangdun Choi

Integrin Alpha 4 (Itga 4)

  • Maria MittelbrunnEmail author
  • Francisco Sánchez-Madrid
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67199-4_143


Historical Background

Integrins are heterodimeric glycoproteins composed of non-covalently associated α and β subunits, and constitute one of the largest families of adhesion molecules. Integrins mediate cell-to-cell and cell-to-extracellular matrix interactions and are involved in a wide range of physiological processes such as development, immune regulation, and hemostasis. Mammalian genomes contain 18 α subunit and 8 β subunit genes which generate 24 different αβ heterodimer combinations.

The α4 integrin subunit is expressed on the cell surface associated with β1 or β7 integrin chains (Hemler et al. 1987; Sanchez-Madrid et al. 1986). These α4 integrins (α4β1, also known as VLA-4, and α4β7) are involved in important cell differentiation processes such as neural and muscle cell differentiation and hematopoiesis. The importance of α4 integrins in development is demonstrated by the embryonic lethality of disruption of the α4integrin gene in...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro Vascular Biology and Inflamation DepartmentCentro Nacional de Investigaciones CardiovascularesMadridSpain
  2. 2.Servicio de InmunologíaHospital Universitario La Princesa Instituto Investigación Sanitaria PrincesaMadridSpain