Integrin-mediated adhesion is controlled by the number of bonds between cell surface integrins and substrate-bound ligands. Integrin-ligand affinity is modulated by chemical allostery, mechanical allostery and integrin clustering. This review analyzes how each of these factors changes through the phases of cell attachment, adhesion strengthening, and clustering. The analysis predicts a dominant role of mechanical factors in both adhesive regulation and integrin signaling for adherent cells. New approaches and experimental analyses will be required to substantiate this hypothesis.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.