Conserved F-actin dynamics and force transmission at cell adhesions

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Oct;22(5):583-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Aug 20.


Adhesions are a central mechanism by which cells mechanically interact with the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) and neighboring cells. In both cell-ECM and cell-cell adhesions, forces generated within the actin cytoskeleton are transmitted to the surrounding environment and are essential for numerous morphogenic processes. Despite differences in many molecular components that regulate cell-cell and cell-ECM adhesions, the roles of F-actin dynamics and mechanical forces in adhesion regulation are surprisingly similar. Moreover, force transmission at adhesions occurs concomitantly with dynamic F-actin; proteins comprising the adhesion of F-actin to the plasma membrane must accommodate this movement while still facilitating force transmission. Thus, despite different molecular architectures, integrin and cadherin-mediated adhesions operate with common biophysical characteristics to transmit and respond to mechanical forces in multicellular tissue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell-Matrix Junctions*
  • Extracellular Matrix
  • Humans


  • Actins