Many cell interactions depend on the assembly of cell protrusions; these include cell attachment and migration in the extracellular matrix, cell-cell communication, and the ability of cells to sense their local environment. Cell protrusions are extensions of the plasma membrane that are supported internally by actin-based structures that impart mechanical stiffness. Fascin is a small, globular actin-bundling protein that has emerging roles in diverse forms of cell protrusions and in cytoplasmic actin bundles. The fascin-actin interaction is under complex regulation from the extracellular matrix, peptide factors and other actin-binding proteins. Recent developments advance our understanding of the multifaceted regulation of fascin and the roles of fascin-containing structures in cell adhesion, motility and invasion in the life of vertebrate organisms.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Ltd.