Microtubules meet substrate adhesions to arrange cell polarity

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2003 Feb;15(1):40-7. doi: 10.1016/s0955-0674(02)00008-x.


Cell movement is driven by the regulated and polarised turnover of the actin cytoskeleton and of the adhesion complexes that link it to the extracellular matrix. For most cells, polarisation requires the engagement of microtubules, which exert their effect by mediating changes in the activity of the Rho GTPases. Evidence suggests that these changes are effected in a very localised fashion at sites of substrate adhesion, via specific microtubule-targeting interactions. Targeting serves to bring molecular complexes bound at the tips and along microtubules in close proximity with adhesion complexes, to promote adhesion disassembly and remodelling of the actin cytoskeleton.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Polymers / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Polymers
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins