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Trends Cell Biol. 2005 Jan;15(1):19-26.

Disassembling adherens junctions: breaking up is hard to do.

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Department of Biological Sciences and the Walther Cancer Institute, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0369, USA. D'


Epithelial cells regulate their contacts with neighboring cells during embryonic development and in disease states such as tumor metastasis. The intercellular adherens junctions (AJs) are specialized subapical structures that function as principle mediators of cell-cell adhesion. Their disassembly correlates with a loss of cell-cell contact and an acquisition of migratory potential. Regulation of the expression of AJ components by gene transcription can dictate the stability of intercellular adhesive contacts, and accruing evidence indicates that the coordinated regulation of cellular processes such as membrane trafficking and cytoskeletal remodeling can also result in the effective dissolution of AJs. Studies of the posttranscriptional mechanisms by which adhesive interactions are regulated in response to growth factors and/or developmental cues have opened new avenues for investigating cell-cell adhesion during development and in disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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