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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 310616, 10 pages
Review Article

Turnover of Focal Adhesions and Cancer Cell Migration

1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Setsunan University, 45-1 Nagaotoge-cho, Hirakata, Osaka 573-0101, Japan
2Division of Cancer Cell Research, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokane-dai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan

Received 30 September 2011; Accepted 23 October 2011

Academic Editor: Jun Chung

Copyright © 2012 Makoto Nagano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cells are usually surrounded by the extracellular matrix (ECM), and adhesion of the cells to the ECM is a key step in their migration through tissues. Integrins are important receptors for the ECM and form structures called focal adhesions (FAs). Formation and disassembly of FAs are regulated dynamically during cell migration. Adhesion to the ECM has been studied mainly using cells cultured on an ECM-coated substratum, where the rate of cell migration is determined by the turnover of FAs. However, the molecular events underlying the disassembly of FAs are less well understood. We have recently identified both a new regulator of this disassembly process and its interaction partners. Here, we summarize our understanding of FA disassembly by focusing on the proteins implicated in this process.