The tip link protein Cadherin-23: From Hearing Loss to Cancer

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Abstract

Cadherin-23 is an atypical member of the cadherin superfamily, with a distinctly long extracellular domain. It has been known to be a part of the tip links of the inner ear mechanosensory hair cells. Several studies have been carried out to understand the role of Cadherin-23 in the hearing mechanism and defects in the CDH23 have been associated with hearing impairment resulting from defective or absence of tip links. Recent studies have highlighted the role of Cadherin-23 in several pathological conditions, including cancer, suggesting the presence of several unknown functions. Initially, it was proposed that Cadherin-23 represents a yet unspecified subtype of Cadherins; however, no other proteins with similar characteristics have been identified, till date. It has a unique cytoplasmic domain that does not bear a β-catenin binding region, but has been demonstrated to mediate cell-cell adhesions. Several protein interacting partners have been identified for Cadherin-23 and the roles of their interactions in various cellular mechanisms are yet to be explored. This review summarizes the characteristics of Cadherin-23 and its roles in several pathologies including cancer.

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