|MadSci Network: Cell Biology|
Most of the cells in the liver are hepatocytes. These cells are present in numerous sheets. The hepatocytes within each sheet interact with each other via cell surface molecules called cadherins. Cadherins present on the surface a liver cell bind preferentially to like cadherins present on the surface of an adjacent liver cell. To learn more about cadherins, and other molecules that mediate cell adhesion, go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ and click on Books. This will bring you to a search page; enter "liver cell adhesion" and you will get links to sections of texts that discuss cell adhesion. Another good place to learn more about this topic is: http://ntri.tamuk.edu/homepage-ntri/lectures/protein/junction.html There are other cells in the liver besides the hepatocytes, however. The liver contains many blood vessels, which are lined with endothelial cells. There are also fibroblast-like cells that lie in the narrow space between the hepatocytes and the endothelial cells. The fibroblasts and the endothelial cells secrete a variety of molecules collectively referred to as the extracellular matrix. The ECM forms fibrils and provides some structure to the tissue as a whole. The various cells also have surface molecules, integrins, that can interact with the ECM, tying everything together. More about ECM and integrins can also be found at the links above. Good luck.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Cell Biology.