The armadillo family of structural proteins

Int Rev Cytol. 1999:186:179-224. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(08)61054-2.


The armadillo gene is a segment polarity gene of Drosophila involved in signal transduction through wingless. Since the mid-1980s, a growing number of related proteins have been identified based on sequence homologies. These proteins share a central domain that is composed of a series of imperfect 45 amino acid repeats. Armadillo family members reveal diverse cellular locations reflecting their diverse functions. A single protein exerts several functions through interactions of its armadillo repeat domain with diverse binding partners. The proteins combine structural roles as cell-contact and cytoskeleton-associated proteins and signaling functions by generating and transducing signals affecting gene expression. The study of armadillo family members has made it increasingly clear that a distinction between structural proteins on the one hand and signaling molecules on the other is rather artificial. Instead armadillo family members exert both functions by interacting with a number of distinct cellular-binding partners.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
  • Animals
  • Armadillo Domain Proteins
  • Cadherins / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology
  • Desmoplakins
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Repetitive Sequences, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Transcription Factors
  • beta Catenin


  • ARM protein, Drosophila
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
  • Armadillo Domain Proteins
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Desmoplakins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • beta Catenin