Adhesion molecules in the stem cell niche - More than just staying in shape?

Véronique Marthiens, Ilias Kazanis, Lara Moss, Katherine Long, Charles ffrench-Constant

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


The expression of adhesion molecules by stem cells within their niches is well described, but what is their function? A conventional view is that these adhesion molecules simply retain stem cells in the niche and thereby maintain its architecture and shape. Here, we review recent literature showing that this is but one of their roles, and that they have essential functions in all aspects of the stem cell-niche interaction - retention, division and exit. We also highlight from this literature evidence supporting a simple model whereby the regulation of centrosome positioning and spindle angle is regulated by both cadherins and integrins, and the differential activity of these two adhesion molecules enables the fundamental stem cell property of switching between asymmetrical and symmetrical divisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1613-1622
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2010


  • Adherens junction
  • Basal lamina
  • Cadherin
  • Centrosome
  • Integrin
  • Stem cell niche

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