The multicellular nature of metazoans means that all cellular processes need to be tuned by adhesive interactions between cells and their local microenvironment. The spatial organization of cells within tissues requires sophisticated networks of extracellular signals to control their survival and proliferation, movements and positioning, and differentiated function. These cellular characteristics are mediated by multiple inputs from adhesion systems in combination with soluble and developmental signals. In the present review we explore how one class of adhesion receptor, the integrins, co-operate with other types of receptor to control diverse aspects of cell fate. In particular we discuss: (i) how β3 and β1 integrins work together with growth factors to control angiogenesis; (ii) how α6β4 integrin co-operates with receptor tyrosine kinases in normal epithelial function and cancer; (iii) the interplay between β1 integrins and EGF (epidermal growth factor) receptor; (iv) signal integration connecting integrins and cytokine receptors for interleukins, prolactin and interferons; and (v) how integrins and syndecans co-operate in cell migration.

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