Efficient cell migration is central to the normal development of tissues and organs and is involved in a wide range of human diseases, including cancer metastasis, immune responses, and cardiovascular disorders. Mesenchymal migration is modulated by focal-adhesion proteins, which organize into large integrin-rich protein complexes at the basal surface of adherent cells. Whether the extent of clustering of focal-adhesion proteins is actually required for effective migration is unclear. We recently demonstrated that the depletion of major focal-adhesion proteins, as well as modulation of matrix compliance, actin assembly, mitochondrial activity, and DNA recombination, all converged into highly predictable, inter-related, biphasic changes in focal adhesion size and cell migration. Herein, we further discuss the role of focal adhesions in controlling cell spreading and test their potential role in cell migration.
Keywords: cell migration; focal adhesions; high-throughput phenotyping; mechanosensing; systems biology.