Dictionary > Focal adhesions

Focal adhesions

Focal adhesion
(Science: cell biology) areas of close apposition and thus presumably anchorage points, of the plasma membrane of a fibroblast (for example) to the substratum over which it is moving.
Usually 1m x 0.2 m with the long axis parallel to the direction of movement, always associated with a cytoplasmic microfilament bundle that is attached via several proteins to the plasma membrane at an area of high protein concentration (this is noticeably electron dense in electron micrographs). Focal adhesions tend to be characteristic of slow moving cells.


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