Cadherin Superfamily

Cadherins and Desmogleins are transmembrane calcium-dependent cell adhesion proteins. On their cytoplasmic side, Cadherins associate with the three catenins, alpha, beta and gamma (plakoglobin). This association links the cadherin protein to the cytoskeleton and is required for cell signaling. Without association with the catenins, the cadherins are non-adhesive. Cadherins play a role in development, specifically in tissue formation. They may also help to maintain tissue architecture in the adult. Together with desmocollins, another subfamily within the cadherin superfamily, the desmoglein isoforms form the adhesive components of desmosomes, the cell-cell adhesive structures that are found in epithelial cells.