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Review
, 28 (8), R445-R457

Tensile Forces and Mechanotransduction at Cell-Cell Junctions

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Review

Tensile Forces and Mechanotransduction at Cell-Cell Junctions

Guillaume Charras et al. Curr Biol.

Abstract

Cell-cell junctions are specializations of the plasma membrane responsible for physically integrating cells into tissues. We are now beginning to appreciate the diverse impacts that mechanical forces exert upon the integrity and function of these junctions. Currently, this is best understood for cadherin-based adherens junctions in epithelia and endothelia, where cell-cell adhesion couples the contractile cytoskeletons of cells together to generate tissue-scale tension. Junctional tension participates in morphogenesis and tissue homeostasis. Changes in tension can also be detected by mechanotransduction pathways that allow cells to communicate with each other. In this review, we discuss progress in characterising the forces present at junctions in physiological conditions; the cellular mechanisms that generate intrinsic tension and detect changes in tension; and, finally, we consider how tissue integrity is maintained in the face of junctional stresses.

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