Chapter 4 Protein Interactions Linking Actin to the Plasma Membrane in Focal Adhesions

Keiko O. Simon, Carol A. Otey, Fredrick M. Pavalko, Keith Burridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Single proteins, either α-actinin or talin, form a bridge between actin and integrin. Interaction of actin with these two proteins may serve different functions in focal adhesions. In situ, there are structures that appear to be homologous, with focal adhesions, such as the dense plaques of smooth muscle, the myotendinous junctions of skeletal muscle, and the adhesions made by platelets and many other cells, interacting with the extracellular matrix. During development, cell interactions with the extracellular matrix provide cues for cellular differentiation, migration, and growth characteristics. Cells grown in tissue culture, such as fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and epithelial cells, develop focal adhesions and provide a model system to study the interaction of cells with the extracellular matrix. Much of the research on focal adhesions is directed toward understanding the proteins involved in linking actin filaments to the plasma membrane. This chapter describes the current knowledge of the organization of focal adhesions and presents data that suggest two alternative mechanisms for the attachment of actin to the membrane at these sites. Additional linkages to the membrane at focal adhesions almost certainly exist. This is suggested by the existence of other focal adhesion components that have been detected by different methods and also by the low affinity of some of the interactions described in the chapter that may require additional stabilization in the cell. The chapter discusses the interaction between α-actinin and β1 integrin and the interaction between talin and actin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Topics in Membranes
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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