Extracellular matrix molecules, such as laminins, are known to influence and guide cell migration both during embryonic development and in tumor genesis. Laminins also guide growing nerve cell processes during neural network formation. This impact on cell migration and process growth is mediated through cell surface laminin receptors, such as integrins and dystroglycan.

To characterize laminin's impact on cell motility, we analized long-term videomicroscopic recordings of glial cells seeded on surfaces covered with laminin-1.  Laminin-1, one of the most extensively studied member of the large laminin family, was chosen as it is abundant in vertebrate embryos and often localized to sites of cell migration and process growth.
In harmony with the in vivo localization and putative function of laminin-1, experiments with cultured cells show that laminin-1 supports cell migration. It increases both cell velocity and the frequency of direction changes (turning freqency). Changes in the direcionality of cell migration is  associated with a development of a new leading edge and a simultaneous remodelling of the former leading edge. Our studies reveal that this process growth and withdrawal dynamism is stimulated by laminin-1. Some, but not all of laminin-1-induced motility changes are relayed through dystroglycan receptors. Specific blocking of these receptors result in a significant reduction of cell motility, but leaves the increased turning activity unchanged.

Publications : Mehes et al., 2002Mehes et al., 2005