Vinculin (130 kDa) is a ubiquitously expressed cytoskeletal protein that is involved in cell adhesion and migration and plays an important role in embryogenesis. Vinculin is phosphorylated at several residues sites within the tail domain. The vinculin protein consists of a globular head domain connected to an elongated tail region by a proline-rich domain. The head region contains binding sites for two cytoskeletal proteins, alpha-actinin and talin, as well as a binding site for the tail region of vinculin itself. The tail region contains binding sites for actin and paxillin. Vinculin head controls integrin dynamics whereas the tail controls the functional link between the focal adhesions and the actin cytoskeleton. Cell adhesion and migration require the coordinated formation and release of focal adhesions. During this process, the exchangeable vinculin fraction rises during movement and declines upon maturation.
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