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Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Mar;15(3):261-73. doi: 10.1038/ncb2685. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

Monomeric α-catenin links cadherin to the actin cytoskeleton.

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Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G5, Canada.


The linkage of adherens junctions to the actin cytoskeleton is essential for cell adhesion. The contribution of the cadherin-catenin complex to the interaction between actin and the adherens junction remains an intensely investigated subject that centres on the function of α-catenin, which binds to cadherin through β-catenin and can bind F-actin directly or indirectly. Here, we delineate regions within Drosophila α-Catenin (α-Cat) that are important for adherens junction performance in static epithelia and dynamic morphogenetic processes. Moreover, we address whether persistent α-catenin-mediated physical linkage between cadherin and F-actin is crucial for cell adhesion and characterize the functions of α-catenin monomers and dimers at adherens junctions. Our data support the view that monomeric α-catenin acts as an essential physical linker between the cadherin-β-catenin complex and the actin cytoskeleton, whereas α-catenin dimers are cytoplasmic and form an equilibrium with monomeric junctional α-catenin.

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