Recently, fascinating new findings have been reported implicating extracellular matrix protein fibronectin in the activation of focal adhesion kinases. These are important proteins that determine how cells stick to each other and how they move. They are also involved in the motion of cancer cells (Chan, K.T., et al. 2009. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200809110): when FAK is inactivated, cancer cells became less metastatic. Focal adhesion kinases (FAKs) are clustered at the cell membrane and involved in the interaction of the cytoskeleton with proteins of the extracellular matrix.
The study, published in PNAS (Seong et al., 2013, PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1307405110) showed that FAKs show distinct behavior for fibronectin compared to type I collagen. The authors report that FAK activation is dependent on the mechanical force activation of fibronectin. In other words, fibronectin, like different ECM proteins, can transmit mechanical forces to regulate cellular functions. Because of FAK’s direct role in cancer metastasis, this study implicates fibronectin as a key activator of such function. This is an important new contribution to the wealth of knowledge on the mechanisms of action of fibronectin.
With more than three decades of research on fibronectin, new studies such as the ones above reveal fibronectin to be a protein of remarkable, increasing importance for the function of the ECM, by being implicated in a number of roles critical for cell survival.
Akron Biotech is here to support the acceleration of fibronectin research. As a leading supplier of human fibronectin, Akron provides superior support and capabilities – from bioassay to cell culture process development – by supplying fibronectin to meet your regulatory needs.
Together with fibronectin, Akron supplies its sibling ECM protein, vitronectin, which has similarly important roles in cell migration and survival whose mechanism of action during hepatitis C-related liver fibrosis has recently been described in detail (Chen et al., 2013, Human Pathology, 45(1):160-165). We will cover more on vitronectin in the coming weeks.
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