Precise coordination of cell-ECM adhesion is essential for efficient melanoblast migration during development

Development. 2020 Jul 17;147(14):dev184234. doi: 10.1242/dev.184234.


Melanoblasts disperse throughout the skin and populate hair follicles through long-range cell migration. During migration, cells undergo cycles of coordinated attachment and detachment from the extracellular matrix (ECM). Embryonic migration processes that require cell-ECM attachment are dependent on the integrin family of adhesion receptors. Precise regulation of integrin-mediated adhesion is important for many developmental migration events. However, the mechanisms that regulate integrin-mediated adhesion in vivo in melanoblasts are not well understood. Here, we show that autoinhibitory regulation of the integrin-associated adapter protein talin coordinates cell-ECM adhesion during melanoblast migration in vivo Specifically, an autoinhibition-defective talin mutant strengthens and stabilizes integrin-based adhesions in melanocytes, which impinges on their ability to migrate. Mice with defective talin autoinhibition exhibit delays in melanoblast migration and pigmentation defects. Our results show that coordinated integrin-mediated cell-ECM attachment is essential for melanoblast migration and that talin autoinhibition is an important mechanism for fine-tuning cell-ECM adhesion during cell migration in development.

Keywords: Adhesion; ECM; Integrins; Melanocyte; Migration; Talin; Transgenic Mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Shape
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Melanocytes / cytology
  • Melanocytes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Pigmentation
  • Talin / genetics
  • Talin / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Integrins
  • Talin