Catenins as mediators of the cytoplasmic functions of cadherins

J Cell Sci Suppl. 1993;17:155-8. doi: 10.1242/jcs.1993.supplement_17.22.


The catenins are polypeptides that bind to the conserved cytoplasmic tail of cadherins and are required for cadherin function. alpha-Catenin is related to vinculin and seems to be required for the interaction of cadherins with the actin cytoskeleton. beta-Catenin is homologous to armadillo, a segment polarity gene in Drosophila that participates in developmental signaling. Recent findings indicate that beta-catenin also participates in developmental signaling and embryonic patterning in Xenopus laevis. At least a portion of the electrophoretic band migrating at the position of gamma-catenin consists of plakoglobin, a desmosomal and zonula adherens protein that has high sequence similarity to beta-catenin and armadillo. The catenins may be involved in the regulation of cadherin function during tissue morphogenesis and tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Cytoplasm / physiology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • Desmoplakins
  • Desmosomes / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Trans-Activators*
  • alpha Catenin
  • beta Catenin
  • gamma Catenin


  • CTNNA1 protein, human
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Desmoplakins
  • JUP protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • alpha Catenin
  • beta Catenin
  • gamma Catenin