Cadherin complexity: Recent insights into cadherin superfamily function in C. elegans

Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1117 W. Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Current opinion in cell biology (Impact Factor: 8.47). 07/2012; 24(5):695-701. DOI: 10.1016/
Source: PubMed


Cadherin superfamily proteins mediate cell-cell adhesion during development. The C. elegans embryo is a powerful system for analyzing how cadherins function in highly stereotyped morphogenetic events. In the embryo, the classical cadherin HMR-1 acts along with the Rac pathway and SAX-7/L1CAM during gastrulation. As adherens junctions mature, PAR complex proteins differentially regulate cadherin complex localization, and SRGP-1/Slit/Robo GAP aids adhesion by promoting membrane bending. Once adherens junctions form, actin is linked to the cell surface via HMP-1/α-catenin, whose actin binding activity is regulated in novel ways. FMI-1/Flamingo and CDH-4/Fat-like regulate axonal morphology of both pioneer and follower neurons. C. elegans thus continues to be useful for uncovering precise functions for cadherin superfamily proteins and their associates in a simple metazoan.

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