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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 1999 Oct;11(5):540-8.

Genetic analysis of cadherin function in animal morphogenesis.

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Department of Zoology University of Toronto 25 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G5, Canada.


Cadherins are a superfamily of Ca(2+)-dependent adhesion molecules found in metazoans. Several classes of cadherins have been defined from which two - classic cadherins and Fat-like cadherins - have been studied by genetic approaches. Recent in vivo studies in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila show that cadherins play an active role in a number of distinct morphogenetic processes. Classic cadherins function in epithelial polarization, epithelial sheet or tube fusion, cell migration, cell sorting, and axonal patterning. Fat-like cadherins are required for epithelial morphogenesis, proliferation control, and epithelial planar polarization.

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