The ins and outs of E-cadherin trafficking

Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Aug;14(8):427-34. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2004.07.007.


One way of controlling the activity of E-cadherin--a protein that is, simultaneously, a major cell-adhesion molecule, a powerful tumour suppressor, a determinant of cell polarity and a partner to the potent catenin signalling molecules--is to keep it on the move. During the past two decades, many insights into the fundamental role of E-cadherin in these processes have been garnered. Studies during the past five years have begun to reveal the importance of intracellular trafficking as a means of regulating the functions of E-cadherin. E-cadherin is trafficked to and from the cell surface by exocytic and multiple endocytic pathways. In this article, we survey the vesicle-trafficking machinery that is responsible for the sorting, transport, actin association and vesicle targeting of E-cadherin to regulate its movement and function during growth and development and, possibly, in cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cadherins / physiology
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Organ Specificity / physiology
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • Cadherins