Alex Palazzo has a highly topical post up on focal adhesions and cell motility on the Daily Transcript, after enjoying a talk by Claire Waterman-Storer. Alex, as always, provides a fantastic perspective on her work, and what it means to cell biology.
In short, however, Dr. Waterman-Storer is using speckle microscopy to study actomyosin contractility in cell migration (regulation of microtubules, too), and how actin microfilaments connect through focal adhesions to the extracellular matrix and generate traction. Alex refers to the ‘clutch hypothesis,’ which is an apt term, even if I hadn’t heard it used until now. And myosin-derived contractility is a hot item these days for those studying the cytoskeleton, to be sure. How contractility is intimately related to allosteric and bidirectional signaling, stemming from integrins and focal adhesions, is rapidly being elucidated in this exciting field.