Adherens Junctions and Pathogen Entry

  • Georgios Nikitas
  • Pascale Cossart
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 60)


Epithelia are highly organised structures protecting underlying tissues against microbial pathogens. Epithelial morphogenesis and maintenance is mediated by cell-cell adhesion molecules organised in junctional complexes, such as the adherens junctions. The tight organisation of these complexes and their interactions with cellular factors render the epithelia impermeable to potential invaders. Nevertheless, pathogens have developed strategies to target, interact and manipulate junctional complexes, in order to disrupt or cross the epithelial barriers and cause infection. Bacteria, viruses and parasites access the junctional molecular components either directly, often taking advantage of physiological alterations in epithelial polarity, or indirectly, by delivering into cells molecular factors that destabilise junctional integrity. Importantly, microbial interactions with junctional components are instrumental not only to elucidate mechanisms of invasion, but also to unravel fundamental physiological properties of the epithelial barriers, at the cellular and tissular level.


Tight Junction Adherens Junction Junctional Complex Shigella Flexneri Epithelial Sheet 
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.



Georgios Nikitas was a recipient of the Marie Curie Actions Early Stage Researcher INTRAPATH programme which he received while preparing his PhD thesis in the Laboratory of Microbes and Host Barriers, under the direction of Marc Lecuit in the Pasteur Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedical Research Foundation Academy of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Institut PasteurUnité des Interactions Bactéries-CellulesParisFrance
  3. 3.InsermParisFrance
  4. 4.INRAParisFrance

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