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This illustration shows two plant cells side-by-side. A gap in the cell wall, a plasmodesma, allows fluid and small molecules to pass from the cytoplasm of one cell to the cytoplasm of the other.
A plasmodesma is a channel between the cell walls of two adjacent plant cells. Plasmodesmata allow materials to pass from the cytoplasm of one plant cell to the cytoplasm of an adjacent cell.

Tight junctions

A tight junction    is a watertight seal between two adjacent animal cells ( [link] ). The cells are held tightly against each other by proteins (predominantly two proteins called claudins and occludins).

This illustration shows two cell membranes joined together by a matrix of tight junctions.
Tight junctions form watertight connections between adjacent animal cells. Proteins create tight junction adherence. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)

This tight adherence prevents materials from leaking between the cells; tight junctions are typically found in epithelial tissues that line internal organs and cavities, and comprise most of the skin. For example, the tight junctions of the epithelial cells lining your urinary bladder prevent urine from leaking out into the extracellular space.

Desmosomes

Also found only in animal cells are desmosomes , which act like spot welds between adjacent epithelial cells ( [link] ). Short proteins called cadherins in the plasma membrane connect to intermediate filaments to create desmosomes. The cadherins join two adjacent cells together and maintain the cells in a sheet-like formation in organs and tissues that stretch, like the skin, heart, and muscles.

This illustration shows two cells fused together by a desmosome. Cadherins extend from each cell and join the two cells together. Intermediate filaments connect to cadherins on the inside of the cell.
A desmosome forms a very strong spot weld between cells. It is created by the linkage of cadherins and intermediate filaments. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)

Gap junctions

Gap junctions in animal cells are like plasmodesmata in plant cells in that they are channels between adjacent cells that allow for the transport of ions, nutrients, and other substances that enable cells to communicate ( [link] ). Structurally, however, gap junctions and plasmodesmata differ.

This illustration shows two cells joined together with protein pores called gap junctions that allow water and small molecules to pass through.
A gap junction is a protein-lined pore that allows water and small molecules to pass between adjacent animal cells. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)

Gap junctions develop when a set of six proteins (called connexins) in the plasma membrane arrange themselves in an elongated donut-like configuration called a connexon. When the pores (“doughnut holes”) of connexons in adjacent animal cells align, a channel between the two cells forms. Gap junctions are particularly important in cardiac muscle: The electrical signal for the muscle to contract is passed efficiently through gap junctions, allowing the heart muscle cells to contract in tandem.

To conduct a virtual microscopy lab and review the parts of a cell, work through the steps of this interactive assignment .

Section summary

Animal cells communicate via their extracellular matrices and are connected to each other via tight junctions, desmosomes, and gap junctions. Plant cells are connected and communicate with each other via plasmodesmata.

When protein receptors on the surface of the plasma membrane of an animal cell bind to a substance in the extracellular matrix, a chain of reactions begins that changes activities taking place within the cell. Plasmodesmata are channels between adjacent plant cells, while gap junctions are channels between adjacent animal cells. However, their structures are quite different. A tight junction is a watertight seal between two adjacent cells, while a desmosome acts like a spot weld.

Questions & Answers

diagram of Prokaryotic cells
Magreth Reply
where is it?
Yazi
ʜɪ
Malikie
ʜɪ
Malikie
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Yazi
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Yazi
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Malikie
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Joelia
gd morning
Hannalyn
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Paul
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Joelia
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Gruxz
morning everyone.. by is Grace we have be saved... Ephesians 2:8....
Cosmo
what is a cell of a bacteria called
Sahfe Reply
what is genotype
James
genotype: this is the combination of alleles an organism has for a given characteristic..
Cosmo
what is maiotic
Gabriel Reply
what is sexual reproduction
Gabriel
what are the effects of concentration gradient in the uptake of water by plant's
Harleen Reply
ls it ok if you have sex during pregnancy
Kags Reply
no
Bernard
yes!!!
Yazi
Yes
Babie
hello
Cabdi
Babie Maseuse .. Hello .. how are you ?
kf
yes it make the baby's strength stay longer
REAL
Who are you?
Babie
why not it's nicer and more enjoyable more than ok for the woman
Lamin
danso from the Gambia and you why do you ask
Lamin
as long as the woman is comfortable and in any possible position good for her
Lamin
unless medically advised to stop or hault and those conditions are also applicable to certain problem in pregancies. Pls any further comment pls never hesitate to ask
Lamin
how tell us
Tony
an assignment for you pls
Lamin
it's recommended
Nyakato
Hello
george
hi how are you?
Lamin
Fine
george
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Cosmo
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Cosmo
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Joelia
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Lamin
InshaAllah
Joelia
Marsha Allah
Lamin
yes
James
What is the meaning of organ
Ronald Reply
tissue combined to form organ
zameer
join
Elishs
orga- these are tissues join together to perform a specific functions.
Elishs
then what are tissues
Kags
group of cells working together to perform a particular function
Harleen
tissue are group of cells put together to perform a certain goal
Bernard
What will happen when read blood cell placed in 0.5 % Nacl solution
zameer Reply
what is biology
Tariro Reply
biology is the study of living organisms
Bernard
examply is the study of.
Nantamu
biology is the study of life.
Nantamu
what is biology
Francis Reply
kidny with large and and many glomeruli are characcteristic feathure of ?
zameer
Can you please put up the notes for antibiotics
Jesus Reply
I can't
Francis
we should first know what is antibiotics.what is antibiotics.
Francis
A cell is the basic functional unit of life.
Jael
what is a cell ?
Rabecca Reply
A cell is the basic functional unit of all organisms
Glandwell
A cell is a basic functional and structural unit of life.
Mavis
please, emphasize more on the coronary circuit
Toyyiba Reply
define the photosynthesis
Sabrinah Reply
list the type of protein
Sabrinah
sugar.glucose
Tamirat
renin,pepsin
Nyakato
peptides
Nyakato
what is photosynthesis
Francis
what is biology
Nathan Reply
branch of science which deal with living and non living things
zameer
different branches of biology
linus
zameer is right
Onuoha
we don't study non living things in biology
mejury
biology is simply the study of life
Toyyiba
biology can simply be the branch of science that deals with the study of flora and fauna
Nyakato
Biology is the study of life
Peace
What is Diffusion
Soliu
The word "Bio" means life and "Logy" means study or knowlegde". Biology is the study of Life (living organisms from microorganisms to plant and animals), their behaviour, mode of living, actions, e.t.c
adewunmi
Bio means life and logy means study of so in other words Biology means study of life
Peace
what is zameer
Francis
what is biology
Pamodou Reply
is the study of life
George
Biology is the study of life
Peace
the word "Bio" is the greek word for "Life" while "Logy" is the knowledge, study of Life. Therefore, Biology is the study or knowledge of life in which case can be from micro organism to plants to animals, their mode of life, features, characteristics, survival e.t.c
adewunmi
biology is the study of living organisms
mejury
study of living organisms
Moses

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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