AAT Bioquest

What are adhesive proteins?

Posted January 6, 2023


Adhesive proteins, also known as cell adhesion proteins, are cell surface proteins that mediate the interaction between cells or between cells and the extracellular matrix. Their effects are reliant on the selectivity and adhesive strength of interactions between receptors. Adhesive proteins include laminin, fibronectin, and entactin, which allow the binding and movement of cells within the extracellular matrix. For example, in development, tenascin assists in cell movement and fibronectin assists in cell anchoring. Additionally, these adhesive proteins attract keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells to areas of injury.. Adhesive proteins have highly specific coded and conserved binding affinities that differ from one family member to another. However, they still exhibit nearly identical sequences and structures. For example, most adhesive proteins have similar conformations in their domains; cadherin, EGF, and fibronectin type III are B-sheet structures. The four families of adhesive proteins are cadherins (N-cadherins), integrins (fibronectin, laminin), selectins (P-selections), and immunoglobulin-like adhesion molecules (nectins). Lastly, adhesive proteins are usually glycoproteins and are overall highly important for maintaining tissue function and structure. 

Additional resources

Adhesive molecules

Cell Meter™ Cell Adhesion Assay Kit

Cell Structures and Organelles