Tools of the trade: podosomes as multipurpose organelles of monocytic cells

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015 Jan;72(1):121-35. doi: 10.1007/s00018-014-1731-z. Epub 2014 Oct 10.


Podosomes are adhesion and invasion structures that are particularly prominent in cells of the monocytic lineage such as macrophages, dendritic cells, and osteoclasts. They are multifunctional organelles that combine several key abilities required for cell migration and invasion. The podosome repertoire includes well-established functions such as cell-substrate adhesion, and extracellular matrix degradation, recently discovered abilities such as rigidity and topology sensing as well as antigen sampling, and also more speculative functions such as cell protrusion stabilization and transmigration. Collectively, podosomes not only enable dynamic interactions of cells with their surroundings, they also gather information about the pericellular environment, and are actively involved in its reshaping. This review presents an overview of the current knowledge on podosome composition, architecture, and regulation. We focus in particular on the growing list of podosome functions and discuss the specific properties of podosomes in macrophages, dendritic cells, and osteoclasts. Moreover, this article highlights podosome-related intracellular transport processes, the formation of podosomes in 3D environments as well as potentially podosome-associated diseases involving monocytic cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cellular Structures / physiology*
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Monocytes / physiology*
  • Organelles / physiology*
  • Osteoclasts / physiology
  • Signal Transduction