The adherens junction: A mosaic of cadherin and nectin clusters bundled by actin filaments

Indrajyoti Indra, Soonjin Hong, Regina Troyanovsky, Bernadett Kormos, Sergey Troyanovsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Cadherin and nectin are distinct transmembrane proteins of adherens junctions. Their ectodomains mediate adhesion, whereas their cytosolic regions couple the adhesive contact to the cytoskeleton. Both these proteins are essential for adherens junction formation and maintenance. However, some basic aspects of these proteins, such as their organization in adherence junctions, have remained open. Therefore, using super-resolution microscopy and live imaging, we focused on the subjunctional distribution of these proteins. We showed that cadherin and nectin in the junctions of A431 cells and human keratinocytes are located in separate clusters. The size of each cluster is independent of that of the adjacent clusters and can significantly fluctuate over time. Several nectin and cadherin clusters that constitute an individual adherens junction are united by the same actin-filament bundle. Surprisingly, interactions between each cluster and F-actin are not uniform, as neither vinculin nor LIM-domain actin-binding proteins match the boundaries of cadherin or nectin clusters. Thus, the adherens junction is not a uniform structure but a mosaic of different adhesive units with very diverse modes of interaction with the cytoskeleton. We propose that such a mosaic architecture of adherence junctions is important for the fast regulation of their dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2546-2554
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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