In 1979, Benjamin Geiger isolated a 130 kD protein from chicken gizzard that localized to the ventral surface of cells and to areas of cell-cell contact (Geiger 1979). About the same time, Keith Burridge and colleagues isolated a 130 kD, also from chicken gizzard (Burridge and Feramisco 1980). Burridge observed fluorescently labeled versions of this protein extensively co-localized with fibronectin and actin, suggesting a possible role in the organization of actin filaments at membrane attachment sites. Based on this information, the novel protein was named vinculin from the Latin word vinculum, which means a “bond” or “link.”
After its identification, many early studies reinforced the initial idea that vinculin links actin to attachment sites. Key among these was the identification of vinculin as a direct binding partner for actin and for talin – a new protein found to interacted with the integrins (Burridge and...