Nectins and Nectin-like molecules drive vascular development and barrier function

Doryssa Hermans, Carla Rodriguez-Mogeda, Hannelore Kemps, Annelies Bronckaers, E de Vries Helga, Bieke Broux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Angiogenesis, barriergenesis, and immune cell migration are all key physiological events that are dependent on the functional characteristics of the vascular endothelium. The protein family of Nectins and Nectin-like molecules (Necls) is a group of cell adhesion molecules that are widely expressed by different endothelial cell types. The family includes four Nectins (Nectin-1 to -4) and five Necls (Necl-1 to -5) that either interact with each other by forming homo- and heterotypical interactions or bind to ligands expressed within the immune system. Nectin and Necl proteins are mainly described to play a role in cancer immunology and in the development of the nervous system. However, Nectins and Necls are underestimated players in the formation of blood vessels, their barrier properties, and in guiding transendothelial migration of leukocytes. This review summarizes their role in supporting the endothelial barrier through their function in angiogenesis, cell-cell junction formation, and immune cell migration. In addition, this review provides a detailed overview of the expression patterns of Nectins and Necls in the vascular endothelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-362
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Early online date3 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Adherens junction
  • Angiogenesis
  • Endothelial cells
  • Migration
  • Nectin
  • Nectin-like molecule

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