Cell-Cell Junctions Organize Structural and Signaling Networks
Garcia, M.A.; Nelson, W.J.; Chavez, N.
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 10(4)
Cell-cell junctions link cells to each other in tissues, and regulate tissue homeostasis in critical cell processes that include tissue barrier function, cell proliferation, and migration. Defects in cell-cell junctions give rise to a wide range of tissue abnormalities that disrupt homeostasis and are common in genetic abnormalities and cancers. Here, we discuss the organization and function of cell-cell junctions primarily involved in adhesion (tight junction, adherens junction, and desmosomes) in two different epithelial tissues: a simple epithelium (intestine) and a stratified epithelium (epidermis). Studies in these tissues reveal similarities and differences in the organization and functions of different cell-cell junctions that meet the requirements for the specialized functions of each tissue. We discuss cell-cell junction responses to genetic and environmental perturbations that provide further insights into their roles in maintaining tissue homeostasis.