PINCH, N(i)ck and the ILK: network wiring at cell-matrix adhesions

Trends Cell Biol. 2005 Sep;15(9):460-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2005.07.002.


Cell-extracellular-matrix adhesion and communication are mediated by integrins and a complex network of proteins that link integrins to the actin cytoskeleton. In this article, I discuss recent evidence that indicates that PINCH-1 and integrin-linked kinase (ILK), which form a tight complex in cells, serve as one of the hubs in the integrin-actin network. This hub mediates many protein interactions with a wide range of affinities (K(D) ranging from >10(-3)M to <10(-7)M). Furthermore, many of these interactions are evolutionally conserved and functionally indispensable for maintaining the integrity of and signaling through the integrin-actin network. Consequently, loss of the PINCH-1-ILK complex is disastrous for embryogenesis in vertebrates and invertebrates. By contrast, aberrance of individual interactions contributes to diverse defects. Dissecting the interactions and functions that are mediated by the PINCH-1-ILK complex presents an exciting challenge and an opportunity to unravel the structure and functions of the integrin-actin network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Humans
  • LIM Domain Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Models, Biological
  • Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Actins
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • LIM Domain Proteins
  • LIMS1 protein, human
  • Lims1 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins
  • NCK2 protein, human
  • Nck2 protein, mouse
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • stck protein, Drosophila
  • integrin-linked kinase
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases