Dynamics between actin and the VE-cadherin/catenin complex: novel aspects of the ARP2/3 complex in regulation of endothelial junctions

Cell Adh Migr. 2014;8(2):125-35. doi: 10.4161/cam.28243.


Endothelial adherens junctions are critical for physiological and pathological processes such as differentiation, maintenance of entire monolayer integrity, and the remodeling. The endothelial-specific VE-cadherin/catenin complex provides the backbone of adherens junctions and acts in close interaction with actin filaments and actin/myosin-mediated contractility to fulfill the junction demands. The functional connection between the cadherin/catenin complex and actin filaments might be either directly through ?-catenins, or indirectly e.g., via linker proteins such as vinculin, p120ctn, ?-actinin, or EPLIN. However, both junction integrity and dynamic remodeling have to be contemporarily coordinated. The actin-related protein complex ARP2/3 and its activating molecules, such as N-WASP and WAVE, have been shown to regulate the lammellipodia-mediated formation of cell junctions in both epithelium and endothelium. Recent reports now demonstrate a novel aspect of the ARP2/3 complex and the nucleating-promoting factors in the maintenance of endothelial barrier function and junction remodeling of established endothelial cell junctions. Those mechanisms open novel possibilities; not only in fulfilling physiological demands but obtained information may be of critical importance in pathologies such as wound healing, angiogenesis, inflammation, and cell diapedesis.

Keywords: ARP2/3 complex; VE-cadherin; actin; cortical actin; endothelium; stress fibers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex / genetics
  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex / metabolism*
  • Actinin / metabolism
  • Actins / genetics
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism*
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Catenins / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / genetics
  • Intercellular Junctions / metabolism
  • Stress Fibers / metabolism*
  • Transendothelial and Transepithelial Migration / genetics
  • Vinculin / metabolism
  • alpha Catenin / metabolism


  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex
  • Actins
  • Antigens, CD
  • Cadherins
  • Catenins
  • alpha Catenin
  • cadherin 5
  • delta catenin
  • Actinin
  • Vinculin