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Adhesion switches in cancer and development: from in vivo to synthetic biology

Final Report Summary - ADHESWITCHES (Adhesion switches in cancer and development: from in vivo to synthetic biology)

Integrins are the major family of transmembrane cell adhesion receptors controlling cell proliferation and migration. The objective of this proposal is to gain fundamentally novel mechanistic insight into the emerging new roles of integrins in cancer. As an outcome of this project we have been able to demonstrate that integrin activity regulation is important in mammary gland development. We have also established that regulation of integrin activity in the stroma may influence cancer progression. We have demonstrated that integrin endosomal signalling is a critical step in cancer metastasis and we have identified that integrin endocytosis can be specifically regulated on the basis of their alpha-subunits. These studies have employed innovative and unconventional techniques to address three major unanswered questions in the field and have significantly advanced our understanding of integrin function in development and especially in cancer.