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Tissue Barriers. 2018 Jan 2;6(1):e1404189. doi: 10.1080/21688370.2017.1404189. Epub 2018 Feb 8.

Bridging the gap: Super-resolution microscopy of epithelial cell junctions.

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a Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology , University of Alabama at Birmingham , Birmingham , AL , USA.


Cell junctions are critical for cell adhesion and communication in epithelial tissues. It is evident that the cellular distribution, size, and architecture of cell junctions play a vital role in regulating function. These details of junction architecture have been challenging to elucidate in part due to the complexity and size of cell junctions. A major challenge in understanding these features is attaining high resolution spatial information with molecular specificity. Fluorescence microscopy allows localization of specific proteins to junctions, but with a resolution on the same scale as junction size, rendering internal protein organization unobtainable. Super-resolution microscopy provides a bridge between fluorescence microscopy and nanoscale approaches, utilizing fluorescent tags to reveal protein organization below the resolution limit. Here we provide a brief introduction to super-resolution microscopy and discuss novel findings into the organization, structure and function of epithelial cell junctions.


PALM; SIM; STED; STORM; adherens junction; desmosome; gap junction; hemidesmosome; tight junction

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