Monomeric α-catenin links cadherin to the actin cytoskeleton

Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Mar;15(3):261-73. doi: 10.1038/ncb2685. Epub 2013 Feb 17.


The linkage of adherens junctions to the actin cytoskeleton is essential for cell adhesion. The contribution of the cadherin-catenin complex to the interaction between actin and the adherens junction remains an intensely investigated subject that centres on the function of α-catenin, which binds to cadherin through β-catenin and can bind F-actin directly or indirectly. Here, we delineate regions within Drosophila α-Catenin (α-Cat) that are important for adherens junction performance in static epithelia and dynamic morphogenetic processes. Moreover, we address whether persistent α-catenin-mediated physical linkage between cadherin and F-actin is crucial for cell adhesion and characterize the functions of α-catenin monomers and dimers at adherens junctions. Our data support the view that monomeric α-catenin acts as an essential physical linker between the cadherin-β-catenin complex and the actin cytoskeleton, whereas α-catenin dimers are cytoplasmic and form an equilibrium with monomeric junctional α-catenin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / genetics
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actins / genetics
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Adherens Junctions / physiology
  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Protein Multimerization
  • alpha Catenin / genetics
  • alpha Catenin / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Cadherins
  • alpha Catenin
  • beta Catenin