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E-Cadherin


Trafficking of E-cadherin.

In epithelia, intercellular adhesion is maintained by adherens junctions and desmosomes.  We are studying adhesion via adherens junctions.  The primary molecule responsible for intercellular adhesion is E-cadherin (blue ellipses).  This picture outlines trafficking of E-cadherin to and from the cell surface.

After E-cadherin is synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum it binds to either b- or g- catenin (also called plakoglobin) and then transports via the secretory pathway to the cell surface (plasma membrane).  At some point p120 catenin is also added to the complex.  When E-cadherins from adjacent cells bind to each other (binding is calcium dependent) then an adherens junction is established.  During apoptosis trafficking of E-cadherin to the cell surface is lost.  Therefore, as E-cadherin is turned-over cells detach from one another.