Adherens Junction Turnover: Regulating Adhesion Through Cadherin Endocytosis, Degradation, and Recycling

  • Andrew P. Kowalczyk
  • Benjamin A. Nanes
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 60)


Adherens junctions are important mediators of intercellular adhesion, but they are not static structures. They are regularly formed, broken, and rearranged in a variety of situations, requiring changes in the amount of cadherins, the main adhesion molecule in adherens junctions, present at the cell surface. Thus, endocytosis, degradation, and recycling of cadherins are crucial for dynamic regulation of adherens junctions and control of intercellular adhesion. In this chapter, we review the involvement of cadherin endocytosis in development and disease. We discuss the various endocytic pathways available to cadherins, the adaptors involved, and the sorting of internalized cadherin for recycling or lysosomal degradation. In addition, we review the regulatory pathways controlling cadherin endocytosis and degradation, including regulation of cadherin endocytosis by catenins, cadherin ubiquitination, and growth factor receptor signaling pathways. Lastly, we discuss the proteolytic cleavage of cadherins at the plasma membrane.


Adherens Junction Endocytic Pathway P120 Binding Growth Factor Signaling Pathway Classical Cadherins 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Victor Faundez as well as members of the Kowalczyk lab for insightful and engaging conversations during the preparation of this manuscript. We would also like to acknowledge funding from the National Institutes of Health (R01AR050501 and R01AR048266 to APK). BAN was supported by a fellowship from the American Heart Association (11PRE7590097).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental BiologyEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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