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Gauging the forces between cells

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Cell-cell junctions are important for communication, transport, signalling, waste evacuation and water homeostasis. An EU-funded project has investigated how biophysical forces can influence the fulfilment of this vast range of functions.

Communication and signalling between cells in almost all tissues is achieved by gap junctions or intercellular channels. Gap junctions are pairs of half-channels or connexons each having an assembly of six proteins (connexins) that come together. Although the functions and chemical components of gap junctions are well documented, little is known about the forces and energies these structures can support.

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