Touch, grasp, deliver and control: functional cross-talk between microtubules and cell adhesions

Traffic. 2009 Mar;10(3):268-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2008.00869.x. Epub 2009 Jan 17.


Cross-talk between microtubule networks and sites of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion has profound impact on these structures and is essential for proper cell organization, polarization and motility. Components of adhesion sites can interact directly with microtubules or with proteins that specifically associate with microtubule plus ends and minus ends and in this way capture, stabilize or destabilize microtubules. In their turn, microtubules can serve as routes for delivery of structural and regulatory factors that control adhesion site turnover. In addition, the microtubule lattice or growing microtubule plus ends can serve as diffusional sinks that accumulate and scaffold regulatory molecules, thereby affecting their activity in the vicinity of adhesions. Combination of these mechanisms underlies the functional co-operation between microtubules and adhesion sites and defines their dynamic behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Substrate Specificity