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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2001 Oct;13(5):584-92.

Assembly and mechanosensory function of focal contacts.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Focal contacts, focal complexes and related extracellular matrix adhesions are used by cells to explore their environment. These sites act as mechanosensory 'devices', where internal contractile forces or externally applied force can regulate the assembly of the adhesion site and trigger adhesion-dependent signaling involving Rho-family small G-proteins and other signaling pathways. The molecular mechanisms underlying these processes are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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