Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs)


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Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs):

Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) are a subset of cell adhesion proteins located on the cell surface involved in binding with other cells or with the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the process called cell adhesion. In essence, cell adhesion molecules help cells stick to each other and to their surroundings. Cell adhesion is a crucial component in maintaining tissue structure and function. In fully developed animals, these molecules play an integral role in creating force and movement and consequently ensure that organs are able to execute their functions. In addition to serving as “molecular glue”, cell adhesion is important in affecting cellular mechanisms of growth, contact inhibition, and apoptosis. Oftentimes aberrant expression of CAMs will result in pathologies ranging from frostbite to cancer.
There are four major superfamilies or groups of CAMs: the immunoglobulin super family of cell adhesion molecules (IgCAMs), Cadherins, Integrins, and the Superfamily of C-type of lectin-like domains proteins (CTLDs). Proteoglycans are also considered to be a class of CAMs.
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