Cadherin-catenin adhesion complexes at the synapse

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011 Apr;21(2):208-14. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.12.004. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Classic cadherins function as key organizers during the formation and remodeling of synapses in the vertebrate central nervous system. Cadherins are Ca2+-dependent homophilic adhesion molecules whose adhesive strength can be regulated by conformational changes, through cadherin's association with intracellular binding proteins, and by the regulation of cadherin turnover and internalization. In this mini-review, we will highlight recent studies on the role of cadherins and their associated partners in regulating synaptic architecture. Moreover, we will discuss molecular mechanisms underlying cadherin turnover and the subsequent impact on synaptic connections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / chemistry*
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Catenins / chemistry*
  • Catenins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Multiprotein Complexes / chemistry
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Synapses / chemistry*
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Cadherins
  • Catenins
  • Multiprotein Complexes