The integrity of epithelia depends largely on specialised adhesive structures, the adherens junctions. Several of the components required for building these structures are highly conserved between vertebrates and insects (e.g. E-cadherin and alpha- and beta-catenin), while others have so far been found only in invertebrates (e.g. crumbs). Two recent papers(1,2) show that the Drosophila E-cadherin is encoded by the gene shotgun. Phenotypic analyses of shotgun as well as armadillo (beta-catenin) and crumbs mutants provide new insights into the mechanisms by which adherens junctions are built and, further, show that the requirement for E-cadherin largely depends on the morphogenetic activity of an epithelium.