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Hemidesmosomes are desmosomes in a morphological way and in binding to intermediate filaments, which means they are also a type of anchoring junction. They therefore, like desmosomes, act as rivets to distribute tensile forces through the epithelium. However whilst desmosomes link two cells together, hemidesmosomes bind the basal surface of an epithelial cell to the underlying basal lamina. Here, intergrins is implemented as the transmembrane connector and its extracellular domains control the adhesion to a laminin protein known as desmopenetrin. In contrast to desmosomes, the keratin filaments associated with hemidesmosomes have their ends submerged within the plaque. Desmosomes combined with hemidesmosomes provide hyper-adhesion between cells giving mechanical strength to tissues – especially important in the epidermis[1].


  1. Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K., Walter, P. (2007). Molecular Biology of the cell (Fifth ed.). Garland Science.
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