'Super glue'


Cell–cell adhesion is a significant mechanical component of cell and tissue structure. However, cell contacts are not just static mechanical structures: they are integrated into the cytoskeletal and signalling processes of the cell. The formation and remodelling of cell contacts are basic to both tissue morphogenesis and, after damage, wound repair. Loss of adhesion accompanies tumour metastasis. The interplay between these processes was a major theme of a recent joint meeting of the British Societies of Cell Biology and Developmental Biology on 'Cell and Tissue Morphogenesis' in Brighton, UK (3–6 April 2001).

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Figure 1: The adherens junction, consisting of cadherin, α-catenin and β-catenin, forms homophilic interactions between neighbouring cells and anchors actin filaments.

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