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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Jan;1773(1):34-46. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

p120-ctn: A nexus for contextual signaling via Rho GTPases.

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Department Cancer Biology, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Griffin Cancer Research Building, Rm. 307, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.


p120 catenin (p120) is the prototypic member of a subfamily of armadillo repeat domain proteins involved in intercellular adhesion. Recent evidence indicates that p120 associates with classical cadherins and regulates their stability. Ectopic p120 expression results in a variety of morphological effects, and promotes cell migration. There is now strong evidence that p120 acts, at least in part, through regulation of Rho GTPases. The data suggest that p120 may act as a signaling nexus, conveying messages from the cellular micro- and macro-environment to the cell's interior. By regulating Rho GTPases in a context-dependent manner p120 can exert profound effects on cellular responses from synaptic plasticity to vesicle trafficking, as well as regulate the motile vs. sessile, and possibly the proliferative vs. quiescent phenotype of epithelial cells. Here, we review the new evidence on the relationship of p120 to Rho GTPases, and discuss potential roles for the p120-Rho connection in normal and malignant cells.

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