Alpha-catenin: at the junction of intercellular adhesion and actin dynamics

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Aug;5(8):614-25. doi: 10.1038/nrm1433.


Alpha-catenin has often been considered to be a non-regulatory intercellular adhesion protein, in contrast to beta-catenin, which has well-documented dual roles in cell-cell adhesion and signal transduction. Recently, however, alpha-catenin has been found to be important not only in connecting the E-cadherin-beta-catenin complex to the actin cytoskeleton, but also in coordinating actin dynamics and inversely correlating cell adhesion with proliferation. As the number of alpha-catenin-interacting partners increases, intriguing new connections imply even more complex regulatory functions for this protein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology*
  • Actins / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / chemistry
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation
  • alpha Catenin


  • Actins
  • CTNNA1 protein, human
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • alpha Catenin