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Tricellular Junctions: How To Build Junctions At The TRICkiest Points Of Epithelial Cells

T. Higashi, A. L. Miller
Published 2017 · Biology, Medicine

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Tricellular contacts are the places where three cells meet. In vertebrate epithelial cells, specialized structures called tricellular tight junctions (tTJs) and tricellular adherens junctions (tAJs) have been identified. tTJs are important for the maintenance of barrier function, and disruption of tTJ proteins contributes to familial deafness. tAJs have recently been attracting the attention of mechanobiologists because these sites are hot spots of epithelial tension. Although the molecular components, regulation, and function of tTJs and tAJs, as well as of invertebrate tricellular junctions, are beginning to be characterized, many questions remain. Here we broadly cover what is known about tricellular junctions, propose a new model for tension transmission at tAJs, and discuss key open questions.
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