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Journal Article

The role of integrin-linked kinase in the molecular architecture of focal adhesions


Spatz,  Joachim P.
Cellular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Biophysical Chemistry, Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany;

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Elad, N., Volberg, T., Patla, I., Hirschfeld-Warneken, V. C., Grashoff, C., Spatz, J. P., et al. (2013). The role of integrin-linked kinase in the molecular architecture of focal adhesions. Journal of Cell Science, 126(18), 4099-4107. doi:10.1242/jcs.120295.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-C14E-2
Integrin-mediated focal adhesions (FAs) are large, multi-protein complexes that link the actin cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix and take part in adhesion-mediated signaling. These adhesions are highly complex and diverse at the molecular level; thus, assigning particular structural or signaling functions to specific components is highly challenging. Here, we combined functional, structural and biophysical approaches to assess the role of a major FA component, namely, integrin-linked kinase (ILK), in adhesion formation. We show here that ILK plays a key role in the formation of focal complexes, early forms of integrin adhesions, and confirm its involvement in the assembly of fibronectin-bound fibrillar adhesions. Examination of ILK-null fibroblasts by cryo-electron tomography pointed to major structural changes in their FAs, manifested as disarray of the associated actin filaments and an increase in the packing density of FA-related particles. Interestingly, adhesion of the mutant cells to the substrate required a higher ligand density than in control cells. These data indicate that ILK has a key role in integrin adhesion assembly and sub-structure, and in the regulation of the FA-associated cytoskeleton.