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desmosome

n. (context biology English) A structural unit that functions in the adhesion of cells to form tissue

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Desmosome

A desmosome (; "binding body"), also known as a macula adhaerens (plural: maculae adhaerentes) ( Latin for adhering spot), is a cell structure specialized for cell-to-cell adhesion. A type of junctional complex, they are localized spot-like adhesions randomly arranged on the lateral sides of plasma membranes.

Desmosomes help to resist shearing forces and are found in simple and stratified squamous epithelium. The intercellular space is very wide (about 30 nm). Desmosomes are also found in muscle tissue where they bind muscle cells to one another.