Adherens Junctions and Stem Cells

  • Terry Lechler
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 60)


The specification, maintenance, division and differentiation of stem cells are integral to the development and homeostasis of many tissues. These stem cells often live in specialized anatomical areas, called niches. While niches can be complex, most involve cell-cell interactions that are mediated by adherens junctions. A diverse array of functions have been attributed to adherens junctions in stem cell biology. These include physical anchoring to the niche, control of proliferation and division orientation, regulation of signaling cascades and of differentiation. In this review, a number of model stem cell systems that highlight various functions of adherens junctions are discussed. In addition, a summary of the current understanding of adherens junction function in mammalian tissues and embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells is provided. This analysis demonstrates that the roles of adherens junctions are surprisingly varied and integrated with both the anatomy and the physiology of the tissue.


Stem Cell Adherens Junction Paneth Cell Spindle Orientation Stem Cell Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Work on cell adhesion and cytoskeleton organization is supported by a grant to TL from NIH/NIAMS (R01AR055926).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Cell Biology and DermatologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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