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In mammalian cells, vinculin is a membrane-cytoskeletal protein in focal adhesion plaques that is involved in linkage of integrin adhesion molecules to the actin cytoskeleton. Vinculin is a cytoskeletal protein associated with cell-cell and cell-matrix junctions, where it is thought to function as one of several interacting proteins involved in anchoring F-actin to the membrane. Discovered independently by Benny Geiger and Keith Burridge, its sequence is 20%-30% similar to α-catenin, which serves a similar function. Binding alternately to talin or α-actinin, vinculin's shape and, as a consequence, its binding properties are changed. The vinculin gene occurs as a single copy and what appears to be no close relative to take over functions in its absence. Its splice variant metavinculin also needs vinculin to heterodimerize and work in a dependent fashion.