Tight junctions/adherens junctions: basic structure and function

J Invest Dermatol. 2007 Nov;127(11):2525-32. doi: 10.1038/sj.jid.5700865.


Adherens and tight junctions are intercellular junctions crucial for epithelial adhesion and barrier function in a wide variety of tissues and organisms. In stratifying epithelia, such as the epidermis, the role of adherens and tight junctions was considered less important owing to the abundance of desmosomes, mediating firm mechanical stability between the cells, and to the barrier function of the stratum corneum, respectively. This view has changed in recent years because of different studies that showed the importance of these structures for proper skin physiology and barrier function. The current review provides an overview of the crucial molecular constituents of these structures and highlights some recent results on their regulation. In particular, I will discuss their importance in skin biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adherens Junctions / physiology*
  • Adherens Junctions / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Epidermis / physiology*
  • Epidermis / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Nectins
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Tight Junctions / physiology*
  • Tight Junctions / ultrastructure


  • Cadherins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Nectins