Medicine & USMLE


Cell Junctions
  1. Gap Junctions
  2. Tight Junctions
  3. Desmosomes


Desmosomes, also called macula adherens or anchoring junctions, are a type of intercellular junction that fastens sheets of cells together, like rivets, to increase tensile strength. They connect intermediate filaments of adjacent cells together, and important tissues where they are found include high stress tissues like skin and muscle. 

Key Points

  • Desmosomes
    • Also called macula adherens or anchoring junctions
    • Fasten the cytoskeleton of adjacent cells together, increasing tensile strength
    • Found in skin and muscle
      • These tissues experience large amounts of stress
      • Errors in desmosome genes → skin blistering
      • Muscle tears are usually caused by the rupture of desmosomes