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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2004 Dec;15(6):643-56.

Roles and modes of action of nectins in cell-cell adhesion.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita 565-0871, Japan.


Nectins are Ca(2+)-independent immunoglobulin (Ig)-like cell-cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), which comprise a family consisting of four members. Each nectin homophilically and heterophilically trans-interacts and causes cell-cell adhesion. Biochemical, cell biological, and knockout mice studies have revealed that nectins play important roles in formation of many types of cell-cell junctions and cell-cell contacts, including cadherin-based adherens junctions (AJs) and synapses. Mode of action of nectins in the formation of AJs has extensively been investigated. Nectins form initial cell-cell adhesion and recruit E-cadherin to the nectin-based cell-cell adhesion sites. In addition, nectins induce activation of Cdc42 and Rac small G proteins, which eventually enhances the formation of cadherin-based AJs through the reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton. Nectins furthermore heterophilically trans-interact with nectin-like molecules (Necls), other Ig-like CAMs, and assist or modify their various functions, such as cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. We describe here the roles and modes of action of nectins as CAMs.

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