Early events in the assembly of E-cadherin adhesions

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E-cadherin is a calcium dependent cell adhesion molecule that is key to the organization of cells in the epithelial tissue. It is a multidomain, trans-membrane protein in which the extracellular domain forms the homotypic, adhesive interaction while the intracellular domain interacts with the actin cytoskeleton through the catenin family of adaptor proteins. A number of recent studies have provided novel insights into the mechanism of adhesion formation by this class of adhesion proteins. Here, we describe an updated view of the process of E-cadherin adhesion formation with an emphasis on the role of molecular mobility, clustering, and active cellular processes.

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