Local modulation of the actin cytoskeleton is essential for the initiation and maintenance of strong homotypic adhesive interfaces between neighboring cells. The epithelial adherens junction (AJ) fulfils a central role in this process by mediating E-cadherin interactions and functioning as a signaling scaffold to control the activity of the small GTPase RhoA and subsequent actomyosin contractility. Interestingly, a number of regulatory proteins that modulate RhoA activity at the AJ also control RhoA during cytokinesis, an actomyosin-dependent process that divides the cytoplasm to generate two daughter cells at the final stages of mitosis. Recent insights have revealed that the central player in AJ stability, p120-catenin (p120), interacts with and modulates essential regulators of actomyosin contraction during cytokinesis. In cancer, loss of this modulation is a common event during tumor progression that can induce chromosomal instability and tumor progression.In this review, we will highlight the functional differences and similarities of the different RhoA-associated factors that have been linked to both the regulation of cell-cell adhesion and cytokinesis.
Keywords: Rho activity; actomyosin contractility; cell adhesion; cytokinesis; p120-catenin.