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Evolution of cell-cell adhesion

Cadherins are important for cell-to-cell adhesion. They are found across different species although each have slightly different structures.

The epithelium is the name given to the outermost layer of cells lining the body’s surface. Neighbouring cells which make up epithelial layers attach to and communicate with one another. They do this through a number of cell-cell adhesion mechanisms. A complex of proteins called cadherins and catenins is the most common example of this.

Although the proteins which facilitate them are different, cell-cell adhesions are found across all multicellular organisms. The origins of these contacts between cells can be studied by looking for commonalities between living organisms alive today.

This image was made in response to research by James Nelson.