Converging and Unique Mechanisms of Mechanotransduction at Adhesion Sites

Trends Cell Biol. 2016 Aug;26(8):612-623. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2016.03.005. Epub 2016 Mar 29.


The molecular mechanisms by which physical forces control tissue development are beginning to be elucidated. Sites of adhesion between both cells and the extracellular environment [extracellular matrix (ECM) or neighboring cells] contain protein complexes capable of sensing fluctuations in tensile forces. Tension-dependent changes in the dynamics and composition of these complexes mark the transformation of physical input into biochemical signals that defines mechanotransduction. It is becoming apparent that, although the core constituents of these different adhesions are distinct, principles and proteins involved in mechanotransduction are conserved. Here, we discuss the current knowledge of overlapping and distinct aspects of mechanotransduction between integrin and cadherin adhesion complexes.

Keywords: adhesion; adhesome; cadherin; integrin; mechanotransduction; vinculin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Focal Adhesions / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Models, Biological


  • Cadherins
  • Integrins