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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2013;116:3-23. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394311-8.00001-7.

Roles of cadherins and catenins in cell-cell adhesion and epithelial cell polarity.

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Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.


A simple epithelium is the building block of all metazoans and a multicellular stage of a nonmetazoan. It comprises a closed monolayer of quiescent cells that surround a luminal space. Cells are held together by cell-cell adhesion complexes and surrounded by extracellular matrix. These extracellular contacts are required for the formation of a polarized organization of plasma membrane proteins that regulate the directional absorption and secretion of ions, proteins, and other solutes. While advances have been made in understanding how proteins are sorted to different plasma membrane domains, less is known about how cell-cell adhesion is regulated and linked to the development of epithelial cell polarity and regulation of homeostasis.

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