Molecular mechanisms of laminin function in health and disease


  • Prof Erhard Hohenester

    Imperial College London

Project summary

Laminins are the major cell-adhesive proteins of basement membranes, the archetypal form of extracellular matrix that is required for tissue formation. Genetic defects in laminins and their cellular receptors cause serious skin blistering diseases, muscular dystrophies and kidney disorders. Yet three decades after the discovery of laminins, we still lack a mechanistic understanding of their iconic functions: polymerisation and cell adhesion. Professor Hohenester’s research aims to address these important unresolved questions through a combination of structure determination and biochemical validation. A better understanding of the molecular mechanism of laminin binding to integrins should aid in the development of new reagents for tissue engineering and stem cell culturing.