Cell-cell recognition is a cell's ability to distinguish one type of neighboring cell from another.This phenomenon occurs when complementary molecules on opposing cell surfaces meet. A receptor on one cell surface binds to its specific ligand on a nearby cell, initiating a cascade of events which regulate cell behaviors ranging from simple adhesion to complex cellular differentiation. Like other cellular functions, cell-cell recognition is impacted by detrimental mutations in the genes and proteins involved and is subject to error. The biological events that unfold due to cell-cell recognition are important for animal development, microbiomes, and human medicine.
Cell aggregates are important tools in the study of tissue development, permitting correlation of cell-cell interactions with cell differentiation viability and migration, as well as subsequent tissue formation. The aggregate morphology permits re-establishment of the cell-cell contacts normally present in tissues; therefore, cell function and survival are often enhanced in aggregate culture. Because of this, cell aggregates may also be useful in tissue engineering, enhancing the function of cell-based hybrid artificial organs or reconstituted tissue