Table of Contents
Journal of Signal Transduction
Volume 2012, Article ID 296450, 12 pages
Review Article

Focal Adhesion Kinases in Adhesion Structures and Disease

Department of Oral Biology, Indiana University School of Dentistry, DS241, 1121 W. Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA

Received 23 March 2012; Revised 25 May 2012; Accepted 31 May 2012

Academic Editor: Donna Webb

Copyright © 2012 Pierre P. Eleniste and Angela Bruzzaniti. 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.


Cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is essential for cell migration, proliferation, and embryonic development. Cells can contact the ECM through a wide range of matrix contact structures such as focal adhesions, podosomes, and invadopodia. Although they are different in structural design and basic function, they share common remodeling proteins such as integrins, talin, paxillin, and the tyrosine kinases FAK, Pyk2, and Src. In this paper, we compare and contrast the basic organization and role of focal adhesions, podosomes, and invadopodia in different cells. In addition, we discuss the role of the tyrosine kinases, FAK, Pyk2, and Src, which are critical for the function of the different adhesion structures. Finally, we discuss the essential role of these tyrosine kinases from the perspective of human diseases.