Regulatory mechanisms required for DE-cadherin function in cell migration and other types of adhesion

J Cell Biol. 2005 Aug 29;170(5):803-12. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200506131.


Cadherin-mediated adhesion can be regulated at many levels, as demonstrated by detailed analysis in cell lines. We have investigated the requirements for Drosophila melanogaster epithelial (DE) cadherin regulation in vivo. Investigating D. melanogaster oogenesis as a model system allowed the dissection of DE-cadherin function in several types of adhesion: cell sorting, cell positioning, epithelial integrity, and the cadherin-dependent process of border cell migration. We generated multiple fusions between DE-cadherin and alpha-catenin as well as point-mutated beta-catenin and analyzed their ability to support these types of adhesion. We found that (1) although linking DE-cadherin to alpha-catenin is essential, regulation of the link is not required in any of these types of adhesion; (2) beta-catenin is required only to link DE-cadherin to alpha-catenin; and (3) the cytoplasmic domain of DE-cadherin has an additional specific function for the invasive migration of border cells, which is conserved to other cadherins. The nature of this additional function is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Armadillo Domain Proteins
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors
  • alpha Catenin
  • beta Catenin


  • ARM protein, Drosophila
  • Armadillo Domain Proteins
  • CTNNA1 protein, human
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • alpha Catenin
  • beta Catenin
  • shg protein, Drosophila