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J Cell Biol. 2012 Aug 20;198(4):481-9. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201206050.

Targeting and transport: how microtubules control focal adhesion dynamics.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Directional cell migration requires force generation that relies on the coordinated remodeling of interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM), which is mediated by integrin-based focal adhesions (FAs). Normal FA turnover requires dynamic microtubules, and three members of the diverse group of microtubule plus-end-tracking proteins are principally involved in mediating microtubule interactions with FAs. Microtubules also alter the assembly state of FAs by modulating Rho GTPase signaling, and recent evidence suggests that microtubule-mediated clathrin-dependent and -independent endocytosis regulates FA dynamics. In addition, FA-associated microtubules may provide a polarized microtubule track for localized secretion of matrix metalloproteases (MMPs). Thus, different aspects of the molecular mechanisms by which microtubules control FA turnover in migrating cells are beginning to emerge.

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