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Epithelial and endothelial monolayers are multicellular sheets that form barriers between the 'outside' and 'inside' of tissues. Cell-cell junctions, made by adherens junctions, tight junctions and desmosomes, hold together these monolayers. They form intercellular contacts by binding their receptor counterparts on neighboring cells and anchoring these structures intracellularly to the cytoskeleton. During tissue development, maintenance and pathogenesis, monolayers encounter a range of mechanical forces from the cells themselves and from external systemic forces, such as blood pressure or tissue stiffness. The molecular landscape of cell-cell junctions is diverse, containing transmembrane proteins that form intercellular bonds and a variety of cytoplasmic proteins that remodel the junctional connection to the cytoskeleton. Many junction-associated proteins participate in mechanotransduction cascades to confer mechanical cues into cellular responses that allow monolayers to maintain their structural integrity. We will discuss force-dependent junctional molecular events and their role in cell-cell contact organization and remodeling. Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Ana Angulo-Urarte, Tanne van der Wal, Stephan Huveneers. Cell-cell junctions as sensors and transducers of mechanical forces. Biochimica et biophysica acta. Biomembranes. 2020 Sep 01;1862(9):183316

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PMID: 32360073

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