Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 133–147 | Cite as

A theoretical model for adhesion between cells mediated by multivalent ligands

  • George I. Bell


A theoretical model is developed for cell-to-cell binding by bivalent ligands that can bind to mobile receptors on the cell surfaces. Monovalent inhibitors that can bind either to receptors or ligands are also included. For symmetrical ligands, that is, ligands in which both binding sites are the same, it is shown that crosslinking of receptors on each cell will interfere with intercellular bridge formation. At equilibrium, such interference is not drastic, but if the crosslinks can form before the cells are brought into contact, crosslinking may greatly impede the rate of intercellular binding. Comparison is made with experiments, and the importance of receptor mobility is discussed. It is noted that ligands can also bind a cell to itself or to a surface.

Key Words

Cell adhesion cell agglutination binding between cells adhesion, cell-to-cell ligands lectins agglutination, cell-to-cell 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • George I. Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.Theoretical Division, Los Alamos Scientific LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaLos Alamos

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