Basal-to-apical cadherin flow at cell junctions

Nat Cell Biol. 2007 Jan;9(1):92-8. doi: 10.1038/ncb1520. Epub 2006 Dec 10.


Stable cell-cell adhesion is essential for maintaining tissue integrity, but cells are also able to relocate, implying the existence of mechanisms for coordinating cell adhesion and movement. Here, we show that, in some transformed lines, cadherin adhesion molecules exhibit a flow-like movement in a basal-apical direction at the cell junction and that this flow is associated with reorganizing actin filaments. Such flow also occurs in normal epithelial sheets, but solely at the junctions formed by moving cells. We propose that cadherin flow may provide a mechanism for facilitating the sliding of the two contacting cell membranes in morphogenetically active cell sheets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism*
  • COS Cells
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Movement
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport
  • Transfection
  • alpha Catenin / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • Cadherins
  • alpha Catenin
  • cadherin 5