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J Cell Sci. 2001 Feb;114(Pt 4):625-6.

The cadherin superfamily.

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  • 1Division of Membrane Biology, National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.


The poster provides an overview of the cadherin superfamily, depicting representative molecules for several subfamilies, and displaying the plethora of molecular arrangements characteristic of these molecules (see Commentary by Angst, Marcozzi and Magee on p. 629). Classical cadherins form lateral dimers and typically mediate homophilic adhesion between neighbouring cells and linkage to the actin filament network via their cytoplasmic binding partners *-catenin, &bgr;-catenin and vinculin. Desmosomal cadherins, and VE-cadherin, interact with armadillo family members plakoglobin and/or plakophilins, as well as desmoplakins, to link to the intermediate filament system. Desmosomal cadherin lateral and head-to-head interactions may be homophilic or heterophilic. The adhesive and lateral interactions of other cadherins are less well understood. Very large cadherins, such as FAT family members, may not be involved in adhesion at all, but rather may have a repulsive or sensing role.

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