Received December 19, 2007
Cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion defines the integrity of most tissues. Cell-cell adherens junctions are dynamic structures whose functional state is regulated by interactions of cadherin with beta-catenin, p120, and actin cytoskeleton structures. Small GTPases of the Rho family and GTPase Rap1 play the central role in the formation and maintenance of cell-cell adhesion. Aberrant activation of signaling pathways, transcriptional repression of the E-cadherin gene, ectopic expression of N-cadherin, and disturbances in regulation of adhesive and transcriptional functions of beta-catenin stimulate tumor progression.
KEY WORDS: cell-cell adherens junctions, cadherins, actin cytoskeleton, epithelial-mesenchymal transformation