Jan 2016 Frontiers in cell and developmental biology

The Molecular Architecture of Cell Adhesion: Dynamic Remodeling Revealed by Videonanoscopy.


Sergé A


The plasma membrane delimits the cell, which is the basic unit of living organisms, and is also a privileged site for cell communication with the environment. Cell adhesion can occur through cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts. Adhesion proteins such as integrins and cadherins also constitute receptors for inside-out and outside-in signaling within proteolipidic platforms. Adhesion molecule targeting and stabilization relies on specific features such as preferential segregation by the sub-membrane cytoskeleton meshwork and within membrane proteolipidic microdomains. This review presents an overview of the recent insights brought by the latest developments in microscopy, to unravel the molecular remodeling occurring at cell contacts. The dynamic aspect of cell adhesion was recently highlighted by super-resolution videomicroscopy, also named videonanoscopy. By circumventing the diffraction limit of light, nanoscopy has allowed the monitoring of molecular localization and behavior at the single-molecule level, on fixed and living cells. Accessing molecular-resolution details such as quantitatively monitoring components entering and leaving cell contacts by lateral diffusion and reversible association has revealed an unexpected plasticity. Adhesion structures can be highly specialized, such as focal adhesion in motile cells, as well as immune and neuronal synapses. Spatiotemporal reorganization of adhesion molecules, receptors, and adaptors directly relates to structure/function modulation. Assembly of these supramolecular complexes is continuously balanced by dynamic events, remodeling adhesions on various timescales, notably by molecular conformation switches, lateral diffusion within the membrane and endo/exocytosis. Pathological alterations in cell adhesion are involved in cancer evolution, through cancer stem cell interaction with stromal niches, growth, extravasation, and metastasis.

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