Cooperativity between Integrin Activation and Mechanical Stress Leads to Integrin Clustering.

O. Ali, H. Guillou, O. Destaing, C. Albigès-Rizo, M. R. Block & B. Fourcade

Biophysical Journal, 100(11), pp.2595–2604. (2011)


Integrins are transmembrane receptors involved in crucial cellular biological functions such as migration, adhe- sion, and spreading. Upon the modulation of integrin affinity toward their extracellular ligands by cytoplasmic proteins (inside- out signaling) these receptors bind to their ligands and cluster into nascent adhesions. This clustering results in the increase in the mechanical linkage among the cell and substratum, cytoskeleton rearrangements, and further outside-in signaling. Based on experimental observations of the distribution of focal adhesions in cells attached to micropatterned surfaces, we introduce a physical model relying on experimental numerical constants determined in the literature. In this model, allosteric integrin activation works in synergy with the stress build by adhesion and the membrane rigidity to allow the clustering to nascent adhesions independently of actin but dependent on the integrin diffusion onto adhesive surfaces. The initial clustering could provide a template to the mature adhesive structures. Predictions of our model for the organization of focal adhesions are discussed in comparison with experiments using adhesive protein microarrays.