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J Cell Physiol. 2011 Apr;226(4):940-7. doi: 10.1002/jcp.22437.

PINCH: More than just an adaptor protein in cellular response.

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Temple University School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140, USA.


Particularly interesting new cysteine-histidine-rich protein (PINCH) is a LIM-domain-only adaptor protein involved in protein recruitment, subsequent assembly of multi-protein complexes, and subcellular localization of these complexes. PINCH is developmentally regulated and its expression is critical for proper cytoskeletal organization and extracellular matrix adhesion. Although PINCH has no catalytic abilities, the PIP (PINCH-ILK-parvin) complex serves as a link between integrins and components of growth factor receptor kinase and GTPase signaling pathways. Accordingly, PINCH-mediated signaling induces cell migration, spreading, and survival. Further research on the signaling cascades affected by PINCH is key to appreciating its biological significance in cell fate and systems maintenance, as the developmental functions of PINCH may extend to disease states and the cellular response to damage. PINCH is implicated in a diverse array of diseases including renal failure, cardiomyopathy, nervous system degeneration and demyelination, and tumorigenesis. This review presents evidence for PINCH's structural and functional importance in normal cellular processes and in pathogenesis. The current data for PINCH expression in nervous system disease is substantial, but due to the complex and ubiquitous nature of this protein, our understanding of its function in pathology remains unclear. In this review, an overview of studies identifying PINCH binding partners, their molecular interactions, and the potentially overlapping role(s) of PINCH in cancer and in nervous system diseases will be discussed. Many questions remain regarding PINCH's role in cells. What induces cell-specific PINCH expression? How does PINCH expression contribute to cell fate in the central nervous system? More broadly, is PINCH expression in disease a good thing? Clarifying the ambiguous functions of PINCH expression in the central nervous system and other systems is important to understand more clearly signaling events both in health and disease.

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