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Int Rev Cytol. 1999;186:179-224.

The armadillo family of structural proteins.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Group, Medical Faculty, University of Halle, Germany.


The armadillo gene is a segment polarity gene of Drosophila involved in signal transduction through wingless. Since the mid-1980s, a growing number of related proteins have been identified based on sequence homologies. These proteins share a central domain that is composed of a series of imperfect 45 amino acid repeats. Armadillo family members reveal diverse cellular locations reflecting their diverse functions. A single protein exerts several functions through interactions of its armadillo repeat domain with diverse binding partners. The proteins combine structural roles as cell-contact and cytoskeleton-associated proteins and signaling functions by generating and transducing signals affecting gene expression. The study of armadillo family members has made it increasingly clear that a distinction between structural proteins on the one hand and signaling molecules on the other is rather artificial. Instead armadillo family members exert both functions by interacting with a number of distinct cellular-binding partners.

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