The laminin family
Laminins are large molecular weight glycoproteins constituted by the assembly of three disulfide-linked polypeptides, the α, β and γ chains. The human genome encodes 11 genetically distinct laminin chains. Structurally, laminin chains differ by the number, size and organization of a few constitutive domains, endowing the various members of the laminin family with common and unique important functions. In particular, laminins are indispensable building blocks for cellular networks physically bridging the intracellular and extracellular compartments and relaying signals critical for cellular behavior, and for extracellular polymers determining the architecture and the physiology of basement membranes.