The journey of integrins and partners in a complex interactions landscape studied by super-resolution microscopy and single protein tracking

Exp Cell Res. 2016 Apr 10;343(1):28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2015.11.004. Epub 2015 Nov 10.


Cells adjust their adhesive and cytoskeletal organizations according to changes in the biochemical and physical nature of their surroundings. In return, by adhering and generating forces on the extracellular matrix (ECM) cells organize their microenvironment. Integrin-dependent focal adhesions (FAs) are the converging zones integrating biochemical and biomechanical signals arising from the ECM and the actin cytoskeleton. Thus, integrin-mediated adhesion and mechanotransduction, the conversion of mechanical forces into biochemical signals, are involved in critical cellular functions such as migration, proliferation and differentiation, and their deregulation contributes to pathologies including cancer. A challenging problem is to decipher how stochastic protein movements and interactions lead to formation of dynamic architecture such as integrin-dependent adhesive structures. In this review, we will describe recent advances made possible by super-resolution microscopies and single molecule tracking approaches that provided new understanding on the organization and the dynamics of integrins and intracellular regulators at the nanoscale in living cells.

Keywords: Integrin; Interactions landscape; Mechanotransduction; Single protein tracking; Super-resolution microscopies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Microscopy
  • Nanotechnology
  • Protein Transport
  • Stress, Mechanical


  • Integrins