Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Sci. STKE, 13 March 2007
Vol. 2007, Issue 377, p. pe10
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.3772007pe10]


Flux at Focal Adhesions: Slippage Clutch, Mechanical Gauge, or Signal Depot

Yu-li Wang*

University of Massachusetts Medical School, 377 Plantation Street, Suite 327, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.

Abstract: Focal adhesions provide physical linkages between the interior of an adhesive cell and the extracellular matrix (ECM). They may be involved in mediating such functions as cell migration, anchorage, mechanical interactions with the ECM, and the detection of physical cues in the environment. Cell biologists have long struggled to piece together the complex array of components found at focal adhesions, and the equally complex network of interactions among these components, into a "machine" that performs these putative functions. Two recent studies, however, indicate that focal adhesions may be more amorphous and dynamic than previously envisioned. These studies found different degrees of correlated retrograde movement of various focal adhesion proteins with actin filaments, while integrins remained largely stationary. Such differential movements appear inconsistent with a precisely engineered machine and may reflect a slippage clutch for transmitting a variable amount of contractile force to the substrate for migration, a gauge of physical interactions at adhesive sites, or a mechanism for releasing signals from the adhesive sites to the interior of the cell.

*Contact information. Telephone, 508-856-8781; fax, 508-856-8774; e-mail:{at}

Citation: Y.-l. Wang, Flux at Focal Adhesions: Slippage Clutch, Mechanical Gauge, or Signal Depot. Sci. STKE 2007, pe10 (2007).

Read the Full Text

Quantitative mapping of averaged focal adhesion dynamics in migrating cells by shape normalization.
C. Mohl, N. Kirchgessner, C. Schafer, B. Hoffmann, and R. Merkel (2012)
J. Cell Sci. 125, 155-165
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Force transmission in migrating cells.
M. F. Fournier, R. Sauser, D. Ambrosi, J.-J. Meister, and A. B. Verkhovsky (2010)
J. Cell Biol. 188, 287-297
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Integrins in cell migration - the actin connection.
M. Vicente-Manzanares, C. K. Choi, and A. R. Horwitz (2009)
J. Cell Sci. 122, 199-206
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882