Cell Adhesion

Forces inside the cell control adhesion

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Science  11 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6193, pp. 176-177
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6193.176-c

When tissues undergo change—when they're growing or healing, for example—the contact between cells changes too. Mechanical forces play an important role in remodeling these connections. The protein cadherin sticks cells together by spanning the cell membrane, making contacts with the network of actin filaments inside one cell and cadherins on another cell. Engl et al. watched junctions grow between pairs of cells. The dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton affected how cadherin moved to the junctions. During actin turnover, when opposite ends of the filament add and lose actin monomers simultaneously, contacts between cells shrank, whereas stable actin filaments stabilized the contacts between cells. Forces inside the cell stabilize the actin filaments and thus influence cell adhesion.

Nat. Cell Biol. 16, 584 (2014).

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