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Regulation of Cadherin Adhesive Activity

The Journal of Cell Biology
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
  • Mini-Review


9912016 ª The Rockefeller University Press, 0021-9525/2000/02/399/5 $5.00 The Journal of Cell Biology, Volume 148, Number 3, February 7, 2000 399–403 399 Mini-Review Regulation of Cadherin Adhesive Activity Barry M. Gumbiner Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021 Address correspondence to Barry M. Gumbiner, Memorial Sloan-Ketter- ing Cancer Center, Box 564, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021. E-mail: [email protected] Adhesive interactions between cells are dynamic and reg- ulated during tissue development and homeostasis. Cad- herins are major cell–cell adhesion molecules involved in the development and maintenance of all solid tissues (Takeichi, 1991; Gumbiner, 1996). Therefore, regulation of cadherin-mediated adhesion and the associated adher- ens junctions is thought to underlie the dynamics of the adhesive interactions between cells. A major form of regu- lation occurs at the level of cadherin gene expression. The level of cadherin expression influences the strength of ad- hesion (Steinberg and Takeichi, 1994), and the type of cadherin expressed determines the specificity of cell inter- actions (Nose et al., 1988) and properties of the interac- tions. However, there is accumulating evidence that post- transcriptional regulation of cadherin adhesive activity is responsible for many of the dynamic, rapid changes in cell interactions that underlie tissue morphogenesis and ho- meostasis. The mechanisms underlying the regulation of cadherin adhesive activity is the topic of this Mini-Review. Types of Cadherin Regulation Several different mechanisms have been proposed for cad- herin regulation. However, before discussing these in de- tail, it is worth first considering what exactly is meant by cadherin regulation. Many different cellular processes can affect cell adhesion and the state of adherens junctions, which are formed by the cadherins. During certain mor-

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