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Paxillin dynamics measured during adhesion assembly and disassembly by correlation spectroscopy.


Paxillin is an adaptor molecule involved in the assembly of focal adhesions. Using different fluorescence fluctuation approaches, we established that paxillin-EGFP is dynamic on many timescales within the cell, ranging from milliseconds to seconds. In the cytoplasmic regions, far from adhesions, paxillin is uniformly distributed and freely diffusing as a monomer, as determined by single-point fluctuation correlation spectroscopy and photon-counting histogram analysis. Near adhesions, paxillin dynamics are reduced drastically, presumably due to binding to protein partners within the adhesions. The photon-counting histogram analysis of the fluctuation amplitudes reveals that this binding equilibrium in new or assembling adhesions is due to paxillin monomers binding to quasi-immobile structures, whereas in disassembling adhesions or regions of adhesions, the equilibrium is due to exchange of large aggregates. Scanning fluctuation correlation spectroscopy and raster-scan image correlation spectroscopy analysis of laser confocal images show that the environments within adhesions are heterogeneous. Relatively large adhesions appear to slide transversally due to a treadmilling mechanism through the addition of monomeric paxillin at one side and removal of relatively large aggregates of proteins from the retracting edge. Total internal reflection microscopy performed with a fast acquisition EM-CCD camera completes the overall dynamic picture and adds details of the heterogeneous dynamics across single adhesions and simultaneous bursts of activity at many adhesions across the cell.

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