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Eur J Cell Biol. 2005 Mar;84(2-3):205-14.

The p120 family of cell adhesion molecules.

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  • Institute of Physiological Chemistry, University of Halle, Hollystrasse 1, D-06097 Halle, Germany. mechthild.hatzfeld@medizin.uni-halle.de


p120 is the prototypic member of the p120 subfamily of armadillo-related proteins that includes p0071, delta-catenin/NPRAP, ARVCF and the more distantly related plakophilins 1-3. Like armadillo, beta-catenin and plakoglobin these proteins are involved in mediating cell-cell adhesion. Besides their junctional localization they also reveal a cytoplasmic and nuclear localization. Non-cadherin-associated, cytoplasmic p120 functions in Rho signaling and regulation of cytoskeletal organization and actin dynamics. The nuclear function remains largely unsolved. Some characteristics seem to be shared by the various members of the family but it seems unlikely that p120-related proteins have solely redundant functions and compete for interactions with identical binding partners. Stabilization of cadherins at the membrane seems a common function of p120, p0071, delta-catenin and ARVCF but it is not yet known if and how these proteins confer distinct properties to cellular junctions. Moreover, p0071, NPRAP and ARVCF have a C-terminal PDZ-binding motif that is lacking in p120 pointing to distinct roles of these proteins. PDZ domains are found in a series of proteins involved in establishing cell polarity in epithelial cells. Thus, p120 proteins may not only be master regulators of cadherin abundance and activity but play additional roles in regulating cell polarity. This review focuses on the putative roles of p120 proteins in cell polarity.

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