Ezrin, radixin and moesin (ERM) proteins are widely distributed proteins located in the cellular cortex, in microvilli and adherens junctions. They feature an N-terminal membrane binding domain linked by an alpha-helical domain to the C-terminal actin-binding domain. In the dormant state, binding sites in the N-terminal domain are masked by interactions with the C-terminal region. The alpha-helical domain also contributes to masking of binding sites. A specific sequence of signaling events results in dissociation of these intramolecular interactions resulting in ERM activation. ERM molecules have been implicated in mediating actin-membrane linkage and in regulating signaling molecules. They are involved in cell membrane organization, cell migration, phagocytosis and apoptosis, and may also play cell-specific roles in tumor progression. Their precise involvement in these processes has yet to be elucidated.