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Myristoylated Alanine-rich C-Kinase Substrate (MARCKS): Its Role in Cell Adhesion and Cell Spreading

Cells are grouped together in order to form into three-dimensional tissues of animals. They are joined together with the purpose of establishing the tissues' design or architecture. While tissues have distinct properties and organization, their grouping is based on a vital element- cell adhesion. There is a wide array of methods used by the body for cell adhesion. Regarded as a mechanism, cell adhesion aids in translating "genetic information into the complex three-dimensional patterns of cells in tissues" (Gumbinger, 1996).

Recently, scientists began studying the role of Myristoylated Alanine-rich C-Kinase Substrate (MARCKS), a major substrate of protein kinase C (PKc) in cell adhesion and cell spreading. The aim of this paper is to elucidate how MARCKS is involved in cell adhesion and cell spreading. To understand this role, the first section of this paper will briefly consider how cell adhesion occurs in a fully formed tissue. Widely accepted mechanisms of cell adhesion will be briefly cited in this section. The second section will be devoted on the vital function that MARCKS play in cell adhesion and cell spreading. This section will also show the function of MARCKS in development of tissues.

MARCKS play a role in cell adhesion and cell spreading in muscle cells by binding to actin filaments, calmodulin and acidimmembrane phospholipids. In muscle cells, MARCKS control muscle spreading by regulating the formation of actin stress fibers. In non-muscle cells, MARCKS help in formation of stress fibers, focal adhesion assembly and regulation of cell spreading. MARCKS is also expressed in both neonatal and adult ventricular myocytes of laboratory rats and play an important role in both cell adhesion and spreading. It also has a role in liver fibrogenesis, cell spreading and ruffling and is involved in synaptic plasticity. In morphogenesis, MARCKS is vital in the normal myoblast migration. It also regulates cell motility and has a role in the signal transduction pathways of macrophages and regulates a number of ion channels and transports as well. Interestingly, MARCKS also modulates the growth of melanocytes and appear to have a role in suppressing the growth of carcinomas.

Playing an important part in cell adhesion and cell spreading, MARCKS, as an important substrate of Protein Kinase C (PKC) is indispensable in the formation of the 3-dimensional structure and architecture of tissues. It allows the proper migration and adhesion of cells and supports the continuity and integrity of tissues.

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