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Cell and Tissue Research

, 338:1

First Online: 14 August 2009Received: 12 June 2009Accepted: 16 July 2009


Immunocytochemical, electron-, and immunoelectron-microscopical studies have revealed that, in addition to the four major -textbook categories- of cell-cell junctions gap junctions, tight junctions, adherens junctions, and desmosomes, a broad range of other junctions exists, such as the tiny puncta adhaerentia minima, the taproot junctions manubria adhaerentia, the plakophilin-2-containing adherens junctions of mesenchymal or mesenchymally derived cell types including malignantly transformed cells, the composite junctions areae compositae of the mature mammalian myocardium, the cortex adhaerens of the eye lens, the interdesmosomal -sandwich- or -stud- junctions in the subapical layers of stratified epithelia and the tumors derived therefrom, and the complexus adhaerentes of the endothelial and virgultar cells of the lymph node sinus. On the basis of their sizes and shapes, other morphological criteria, and their specific molecular ensembles, these junctions and the genes that encode them cannot be subsumed under one of the major categories mentioned above but represent special structures in their own right, appear to serve special functions, and can give rise to specific pathological disorders.

KeywordsJunctions Desmosomes Area composita Filopodium Plaque AbbreviationsAJadherens junction

JAMjunction adhesion molecule

MAGUKmembrane-associated guanylate kinase

TJtight junction

MSCsmesenchymal stem cells

PAMpuncta adhaerentia minima

ARVCarrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathies

The authors thank the -Deutsche Krebshilfe- grant 10-2049-Fr I and II to W.W.F. and the German Ministry for Research and Technology Program Regenerative Medicine, START-MSC, to W.W.F. for financial support. Sebastian Pieperhoff is grateful to the Canadian Government DFAIT for a Postodoctoral Research Fellowship PDRF; 03-2008-03-2009 and the German Science Foundation DFG for a Postodctoral Research Fellowship from 04-2009.

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Autor: Werner W. Franke - Steffen Rickelt - Mareike Barth - Sebastian Pieperhoff


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