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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2017 Jul 5;9(7). pii: a023234. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a023234.

Actin-Based Adhesion Modules Mediate Cell Interactions with the Extracellular Matrix and Neighboring Cells.

Author information

Protein and Cell Analysis, Biosciences Division, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Eugene, Oregon 97402.
Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903.


Cell adhesions link cells to the extracellular matrix (ECM) and to each other and depend on interactions with the actin cytoskeleton. Both cell-ECM and cell-cell adhesion sites contain discrete, yet overlapping, functional modules. These modules establish physical associations with the actin cytoskeleton, locally modulate actin organization and dynamics, and trigger intracellular signaling pathways. Interplay between these modules generates distinct actin architectures that underlie different stages, types, and functions of cell-ECM and cell-cell adhesions. Actomyosin contractility is required to generate mature, stable adhesions, as well as to sense and translate the mechanical properties of the cellular environment into changes in cell organization and behavior. Here, we review the organization and function of different adhesion modules and how they interact with the actin cytoskeleton. We highlight the molecular mechanisms of mechanotransduction in adhesions and how adhesion molecules mediate cross talk between cell-ECM and cell-cell adhesion sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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