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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2013;116:239-62. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394311-8.00011-X.

Cadherins and their partners in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


The extreme simplicity of Caenorhabditis elegans makes it an ideal system to study the basic principles of cadherin function at the level of single cells within the physiologically relevant context of a developing animal. The genetic tractability of C. elegans also means that components of cadherin complexes can be identified through genetic modifier screens, allowing a comprehensive in vivo characterization of the macromolecular assemblies involved in cadherin function during tissue formation and maintenance in C. elegans. This work shows that a single cadherin system, the classical cadherin-catenin complex, is essential for diverse morphogenetic events during embryogenesis through its interactions with a range of mostly conserved proteins that act to modulate its function. The role of other members of the cadherin family in C. elegans, including members of the Fat-like, Flamingo/CELSR and calsyntenin families is less well characterized, but they have clear roles in neuronal development and function.

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