Cellular functions, such as differentiation and migration, are regulated by the extracellular microenvironment, including the extracellular matrix (ECM). Cells adhere to ECM through focal adhesions (FAs) and sense the surrounding microenvironments. Although FA proteins have been actively investigated, little is known about the lipids in the plasma membrane at FAs. In this study, we examine the lipid composition at FAs with imaging and biochemical approaches. Using the cholesterol-specific probe D4 with total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and super-resolution microscopy, we show an enrichment of cholesterol at FAs simultaneously with FA assembly. Furthermore, we establish a method to isolate the lipid from FA-rich fractions, and biochemical quantification of the lipids reveals that there is a higher content of cholesterol and phosphatidylcholine with saturated fatty acid chains in the lipids of the FA-rich fraction than in either the plasma membrane fraction or the whole-cell membrane. These results demonstrate that plasma membrane at FAs has a locally distinct lipid composition compared to the bulk plasma membrane.

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