Integrin-mediated cell adhesions to the extracellular matrix (ECM) contribute to tissue morphogenesis and coherence and provide cells with vital environmental cues. These apparently static structures display remarkable plasticity and dynamic properties: they exist in multiple, interconvertible forms that are constantly remodeled in response to changes in ECM properties, cytoskeletal organization, cell migration, and signaling processes. Thus, integrin-mediated environmental sensing enables cells to adapt to chemical and physical properties of the surrounding matrix by modulating their proliferation, differentiation, and survival. This intriguing interplay between the apparently robust structure of matrix adhesions and their highly dynamic properties is the focus of this article.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.