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cellular adhesion

Sunday 13 July 2003

Cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesions involve transmembrane glycoproteins such as cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) and integrins (ITGs), which are thought to function via interactions of their cytoplasmic domains with proteins associated with the cytoskeleton.

The specific adhesion of cells to other cells or to extracellular matrices is a basic component of cell migration and recognition and underlies many biologic processes, including embryogenesis, tissue repair, and immune and inflammatory responses.

It is, therefore, not surprising that many different genes have evolved that encode proteins with specific adhesive functions. Two families of adhesive proteins that are especially important in inflammation are the selectins (SLNs) and the integrins (ITGs).


- Adhesion between vertebrate cells is generally mediated by three types of adhesion junction: tight junctions (TJs), adherens junctions (AJs), and desmosomes. Together they constitute the intercellular junctional complex, which has an important role in defining the physiological function of a cell; that is, they define whether and how a cell will be integrated in functional structures, such as organ epithelia or stroma.

- Cadherins (CDHs) are the principal components of AJs and desmosomes, and cluster at sites of cell-cell contact in most solid tissues. The cadherin superfamily consists of classical cadherins, which are the main mediators of calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion, and non-classical cadherins, which include desmosomal cadherins and the recently discovered large subfamily of protocadherins, which are implicated in neuronal plasticity. The functional role of non-classical cadherins in tumour progression is unknown, so in this review we will focus on classical cadherins.


- cell-cell adhesion
- cell-matrix adhesion


- adhesion-dependent cell mechanosensitivity
- focal cell adhesion


- cancer

  • cancer invsion
  • cancer metastasis

- anomalies of development

- inflammation and immunity


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