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Science 294 (5547): 1708-1712

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Taking Cell-Matrix Adhesions to the Third Dimension

Edna Cukierman, Roumen Pankov, Daron R. Stevens, Kenneth M. Yamada*

Adhesions between fibroblastic cells and extracellular matrix have been studied extensively in vitro, but little is known about their in vivo counterparts. Here, we characterized the composition and function of adhesions in three-dimensional (3D) matrices derived from tissues or cell culture. "3D-matrix adhesions" differ from focal and fibrillar adhesions characterized on 2D substrates in their content of alpha 5beta 1 and alpha vbeta 3 integrins, paxillin, other cytoskeletal components, and tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Relative to 2D substrates, 3D-matrix interactions also display enhanced cell biological activities and narrowed integrin usage. These distinctive in vivo 3D-matrix adhesions differ in structure, localization, and function from classically described in vitro adhesions, and as such they may be more biologically relevant to living organisms.

Craniofacial Developmental Biology and Regeneration Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ky4w{at}

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