Probing the mechanical landscape - new insights into podosome architecture and mechanics

J Cell Sci. 2019 Dec 13;132(24):jcs236828. doi: 10.1242/jcs.236828.


Podosomes are dynamic adhesion structures formed constitutively by macrophages, dendritic cells and osteoclasts and transiently in a wide variety of cells, such as endothelial cells and megakaryocytes. They mediate numerous functions, including cell-matrix adhesion, extracellular matrix degradation, mechanosensing and cell migration. Podosomes present as micron-sized F-actin cores surrounded by an adhesive ring of integrins and integrin-actin linkers, such as talin and vinculin. In this Review, we highlight recent research that has considerably advanced our understanding of the complex architecture-function relationship of podosomes by demonstrating that the podosome ring actually consists of discontinuous nano-clusters and that the actin network in between podosomes comprises two subsets of unbranched actin filaments, lateral and dorsal podosome-connecting filaments. These lateral and dorsal podosome-connecting filaments connect the core and ring of individual podosomes and adjacent podosomes, respectively. We also highlight recent insights into the podosome cap as a novel regulatory module of actomyosin-based contractility. We propose that these newly identified features are instrumental for the ability of podosomes to generate protrusion forces and to mechanically probe their environment. Furthermore, these new results point to an increasing complexity of podosome architecture and have led to our current view of podosomes as autonomous force generators that drive cell migration.

Keywords: Actin; Cell migration; Contractility; Mechanosensing; Podosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Megakaryocytes / metabolism
  • Myosin Type II / metabolism
  • Podosomes / metabolism*


  • Myosin Type II