Cadherin and catenin compose cell adhesion complex and are indispensable for tight cell-cell adhesion. Dysfunction of this adhesion complex causes dissociation of cancer cells from primary tumor nodules, thus possibly contributing to cancer invasion and metastasis (1). At least three proteins (alpha, beta, and gamma catenin) comprise the cytoplasmic domain of the cadherin cell-cell adhesion complex. Data, with the reported structure of other catenin genes, suggest that vinculin and alpha-catenin generate a superfamily of proteins mediating membrane-cytoskeletal associations (2). Presenilin-1 (PS1) overexpression in human kidney cells enhances cell-cell adhesion and data show that PS1 incorporates into the cadherin/catenin adhesion system and regulates cell-cell adhesion. PS1 concentrates at intercellular contacts in epithelial tissue; in brain, it forms complexes with both E- and N-cadherin and concentrates at synaptic adhesions (3).
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