For more than a decade, cell, developmental and cancer investigators have brought about a wide interest in the biology of catenin proteins, an attraction being their varied functions within differing cellular compartments. While the diversity of catenin localizations and roles has been intriguing, it has also posed a challenge to the clear interpretation of loss- or gain-of-function developmental phenotypes. The most deeply studied member of the larger catenin family is beta-catenin, whose contributions span areas including cell adhesion and intracellular signaling/ transcriptional control. More recently, attention has been directed towards p120-catenin, which in conjunction with the p120-catenin sub-family members ARVCF- and delta-catenins, are the subjects of this review. Although the requirement for vertebrate versus invertebrate p120-catenin are at variance, vertebrate p120-catenin sub-family members may each inter-link cadherin, cytoskeletal and gene regulatory functions in embryogenesis and disease.