RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Cell junctions. Cutaway artwork showing four types of cell junction. Two cell membranes form a plane (blue) that has been sectioned to show the details of the junctions. At upper left, a tight junction (zonula occludens, thin strip) is where chains of proteins form a tight seal that can prevent fluid flow, as in the intestines. Adhesion belts (zonula adherens, thick yellow strip) consist of muscle proteins, and can contract and shape epithelia. Desmosomes (macula adherens, round) anchor the filaments (pink) that help strengthen tissue. A gap junction (nexus) is a hexagonal grouping of six protein subunits (green, bottom right) that channel ions between cells, as in the heart.
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