Cell Adhesion

Playing Checkers

Science Signaling  30 Aug 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 188, pp. ec237
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4188ec237

Developmental patterning is very important in the arrangements of cells within organs and tissues. The organ of Corti in the inner ear contains mechanosensory hair cells that are interdigitated with nonsensory supporting cells. During development, these two cell types are arranged in a checkerboard-like pattern. Togashi et al. worked in mice (see the Perspective by Choi and Peifer) to show that the immunoglobulin-like cell-cell adhesion molecules nectin-1 and nectin-3 play a key role in this checkerboard-like patterning through their heterophilic interactions. Mice lacking either nectin-1 or nectin-3 fail to organize their auditory epithelia properly. Thus, differential cell adhesion can control the spatial pattern of cells in a tissue.

H. Togashi, K. Kominami, M. Waseda, H. Komura, J. Miyoshi, M. Takeichi, Y. Takai, Nectins establish a checkerboard-like cellular pattern in the auditory epithelium. Science 333, 1144–1147 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

W. Choi, M. Peifer, Arranging a cellular checkerboard. Science 333, 1099–1100 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]