Cell junction

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Cell junction is a type of structure found in multicellular organisms that aids in the connection and communication between cells. These junctions are crucial for maintaining the integrity of tissues in the body and facilitating coordinated function among cells. There are three main types of cell junctions: tight junctions, gap junctions, and anchoring junctions.

Types of Cell Junctions[edit | edit source]

Tight Junctions[edit | edit source]

Tight junctions, also known as occluding junctions, are a type of cell junction that forms a barrier to prevent the passage of molecules and ions through the space between cells. They are crucial in maintaining the polarity of cells by preventing the lateral diffusion of integral membrane proteins.

Gap Junctions[edit | edit source]

Gap junctions are specialized intercellular connections that allow for the direct passage of ions and small molecules between cells. They are essential for cell-to-cell communication and coordination.

Anchoring Junctions[edit | edit source]

Anchoring junctions are cell junctions that mechanically attach cells (and their cytoskeletons) to their neighbors or to the extracellular matrix. They include adherens junctions, desmosomes, and hemidesmosomes.

Functions of Cell Junctions[edit | edit source]

Cell junctions play a vital role in maintaining the structure and function of tissues in multicellular organisms. They help to hold cells together, facilitate communication between cells, and prevent the passage of molecules and ions between cells.

Clinical Significance[edit | edit source]

Defects in cell junctions can lead to a variety of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and skin diseases. For example, mutations in the genes encoding for gap junction proteins have been linked to a variety of heart diseases.

See Also[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD