Focal contacts: transmembrane links between the extracellular matrix and the cytoskeleton

Bioessays. 1989 Apr;10(4):104-8. doi: 10.1002/bies.950100403.


The sites of tightest adhesion that form between cells and substrate surfaces in tissue culture are termed focal contacts. The external faces of focal contacts include specific receptors, belonging to the integrin family of proteins, for fibronectin and vitronectin, two common components of extracellular matrices. On the internal (cytoplasmic) side of focal contacts, several proteins, including talin and vinculin, mediate interactions with the actin filament bundles of the cytoskeleton. The changes that occur in focal contacts as a result of viral transformation are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Integrins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Receptors, Immunologic / physiology


  • Integrins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic