Catenins: keeping cells from getting their signals crossed

Dev Cell. 2006 Nov;11(5):601-12. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2006.10.010.


Adherens junctions have been traditionally viewed as building blocks of tissue architecture. The foundations for this view began to change with the discovery that a central component of AJs, beta-catenin, can also function as a transcriptional cofactor in Wnt signaling. In recent years, conventional views have similarly been shaken about the other two major AJ catenins, alpha-catenin and p120-catenin. Catenins have emerged as molecular sensors that integrate cell-cell junctions and cytoskeletal dynamics with signaling pathways that govern morphogenesis, tissue homeostasis, and even intercellular communication between different cell types within a tissue. These findings reveal novel aspects of AJ function in normal tissues and offer insights into how changes in AJs and their associated proteins and cytoskeletal dynamics impact wound-repair and cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adherens Junctions / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Catenins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphoproteins / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Wound Healing / physiology
  • alpha Catenin / physiology*
  • beta Catenin / physiology*


  • Actins
  • Catenins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Phosphoproteins
  • alpha Catenin
  • beta Catenin
  • delta catenin