The role of cell adhesion molecules in craniofacial development

The role of cell adhesion molecules in craniofacial development

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J. R. Coll. Surg. Edinb., 43 , August, 223—229 Review article The role of cell adhesion molecules in craniofacial development J. J. KERRIGAN, J. T. McGILL, J. A. DAVIES, L. ANDREWS AND I. R. SANDY Division of Child Dental Health, Department of Oral and Dental Sciences, University of Bristol, UK The last decade has seen classification and characterization of previously identified glycoproteins which have been associated with cell adhesion. More recently, it has been realized that the range of these molecules is even wider than originally thought. Cell adhesion molecules are important in early development and their role in craniofacial development is now apparent. Furthermore, the interaction of cell adhesion molecules in other developmental phenomena such as epithelial mesenchymal transformation (EMT), reinforces the suggestion that these molecules are important in the later stages of development, particularly organogenesis. This article reviews the role of cell adhesion molecules in embryogenesis, with a particular emphasis on foetal craniofacial development. Keywords: cell adhesion molecules, craniofacial development, review. The first suggestion that cell adhesion molecules exist came from Moscona in 1952 who noted that in experiments with developing chick embryos the cells of completely disrupted tissues could reassemble and reform the original tissue structure. It was suggested that the ability of cells to re-aggregate was due to the presence of adhesion molecules present within the cell membrane. 1 Since the pioneering work of Moscona, Townes and Holtfreter in the 1950s, significant steps have been made in the identification, characterization and classification of several distinct cell adhesion systems in developing embryos. 1,2 These systems allow cells to interact dynamically with adjacent cells and the extra-cellular matrix. They are of importance in the development, morphogenesis, maintenance and regeneration of the form, structure and organization of organisms. 3-7 In addition, they appear to have a role to play in an organism’s ability to resist tumour invasion and metastasis. 8 The functional units of cell adhesion systems are multiprotein complexes. Three classes exist: 3,4,7 (i) cell adhesion molecules (CAMs); (ii) extra-cellular matrix proteins; (iii) cytoplasmic linking proteins. These are illustrated diagrammatically in Figure 1. Figure 1 The diagram schematically illustrates the functional units of the cell adhesion system. This demonstrates how the components of the cytoskeleton are linked via the cytoplasmic plaques and transmembrane glycoproteins to the extra-cellular matrix (ECM). Many of the ECM proteins which are responsible for cell adhesion contain common peptide sequences as cell recognition sites. These are recognized by integrins or cadherins which span the cell membrane from the extra-cellular matrix to the cytoplasm. These transmembrane proteins do not
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The role of cell adhesion molecules in craniofacial development

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