Integrins represent the biologically and medically significant family of cell adhesion molecules that govern a wide range of normal physiology. The activities of integrins in cells are dynamically controlled via activation-dependent conformational changes regulated by the balance of intracellular activators, such as talin and kindlin, and inactivators, such as Shank-associated RH domain interactor (SHARPIN) and integrin cytoplasmic domain-associated protein 1 (ICAP-1). The activities of integrins are alternatively controlled by homotypic lateral association with themselves to induce integrin clustering and/or by heterotypic lateral engagement with tetraspanin and syndecan in the same cells to modulate integrin adhesiveness. It has recently emerged that integrins are expressed not only in cells but also in exosomes, important entities of extracellular vesicles secreted from cells. Exosomal integrins have received considerable attention in recent years, and they are clearly involved in determining the tissue distribution of exosomes, forming premetastatic niches, supporting internalization of exosomes by target cells and mediating exosome-mediated transfer of the membrane proteins and associated kinases to target cells. A growing body of evidence shows that tumor and immune cell exosomes have the ability to alter endothelial characteristics (proliferation, migration) and gene expression, some of these effects being facilitated by vesicle-bound integrins. As endothelial metabolism is now thought to play a key role in tumor angiogenesis, we also discuss how tumor cells and their exosomes pleiotropically modulate endothelial functions in the tumor microenvironment.
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