Integration of actin dynamics and cell adhesion by a three-dimensional, mechanosensitive molecular clutch

Nat Cell Biol. 2015 Aug;17(8):955-63. doi: 10.1038/ncb3191. Epub 2015 Jun 29.


During cell migration, the forces generated in the actin cytoskeleton are transmitted across transmembrane receptors to the extracellular matrix or other cells through a series of mechanosensitive, regulable protein-protein interactions termed the molecular clutch. In integrin-based focal adhesions, the proteins forming this linkage are organized into a conserved three-dimensional nano-architecture. Here we discuss how the physical interactions between the actin cytoskeleton and focal-adhesion-associated molecules mediate force transmission from the molecular clutch to the extracellular matrix.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Focal Adhesions / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Pressure
  • Time Factors


  • Actins
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Integrins