Spatial and temporal sequence of events in cell adhesion: from molecular recognition to focal adhesion assembly

Chembiochem. 2004 Oct 4;5(10):1393-9. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200400162.


A new concept that attributes a pivotal role to the pericellular coat in the regulation of the early stages of cell adhesion is presented. Quick, adaptable, and transient adhesion through multiple cooperative weak interactions provides the cell with an additional level of modulation in the decision-making process that precedes the commitment to adhesion at a particular site. Hyaluronan emerges as a modulator of cell adhesion in certain cells, mediating binding or repulsion through its polyelectrolyte character, in addition to its chirality and molecular-recognition properties. The biophysical properties of hyaluronan as well as its ultrastructural organization are analyzed in relation to this proposed function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Focal Adhesions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry
  • Hyaluronic Acid / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Time Factors


  • Hyaluronic Acid