Structural and functional associations of apical junctions with cytoskeleton

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Mar;1778(3):670-91. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2007.12.014. Epub 2007 Dec 23.


Actin dynamics play multiple roles in promoting cell movement, changing cell shapes, and establishing intercellular adhesion. Cell contact events are involved in tissue morphogenesis, immune responses, and cancer cell invasion. In epithelial cells, cell-cell contacts mature to form apical junctions with which the actin cytoskeleton physically associates. Living cell imaging shows, however, that the apical junctional complex is less dynamically regulated than the actin cytoskeleton, indicating that their interaction does not remain stable. Given that several cell adhesion modules are clustered at apical junctions, the sum of weak or transient interactions may create linkages that can be strong yet easily remodeled. Here we describe how subcellular protein interactions are coordinated to induce changes in actin organization and dynamics, in response to the status of apical junctions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / physiology
  • Adherens Junctions / chemistry
  • Adherens Junctions / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / chemistry
  • Cadherins / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cytoskeleton / chemistry*
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / chemistry*
  • Intercellular Junctions / physiology*
  • Microfilament Proteins / chemistry
  • Microfilament Proteins / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tight Junctions / chemistry
  • Tight Junctions / physiology


  • Actins
  • Cadherins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins