Structure-based models of cadherin-mediated cell adhesion: the evolution continues

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2004 Aug;61(15):1884-95. doi: 10.1007/s00018-004-4006-2.


Cadherins are glycoproteins that are responsible for homophilic, Ca2+-dependent cell-cell adhesion and play crucial roles in many cellular adhesion processes ranging from embryogenesis to the formation of neuronal circuits in the central nervous system. Many different experimental approaches have been used to unravel the molecular basis for cadherin-mediated adhesion. In particular, several high-resolution structures have provided models for cadherin-cadherin interactions that are illuminative in many respects yet contradictory in others. This review gives an overview of the structural studies of cadherins over the past decade while focusing on recent developments that reconcile some of the earlier findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / chemistry
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Desmosomes / physiology
  • Desmosomes / ultrastructure
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Cadherins
  • Calcium