A role for the juxtamembrane cytoplasm in the molecular dynamics of focal adhesions

Haguy Wolfenson*, Ariel Lubelski, Tamar Regev, Joseph Klafter, Yoav I. Henis, Benjamin Geiger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Focal adhesions (FAs) are specialized membrane-associated multi-protein complexes that link the cell to the extracellular matrix and play crucial roles in cell-matrix sensing. Considerable information is available on the complex molecular composition of these sites, yet the regulation of FA dynamics is largely unknown. Based on a combination of FRAP studies in live cells, with in silico simulations and mathematical modeling, we show that the FA plaque proteins paxillin and vinculin exist in four dynamic states: an immobile FA-bound fraction, an FA-associated fraction undergoing exchange, a juxtamembrane fraction experiencing attenuated diffusion, and a fast-diffusing cytoplasmic pool. The juxtamembrane region surrounding FAs displays a gradient of FA plaque proteins with respect to both concentration and dynamics. Based on these findings, we propose a new model for the regulation of FA dynamics in which this juxtamembrane domain acts as an intermediary layer, enabling an efficient regulation of FA formation and reorganization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4304
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2009


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