What are Cadherins?

Meaning of Cadherins

Cadherins are a group of glycoproteins that are composed of 700-750 amino acids, functionally related, expressed in epithelial cells of the skin and mucosal epithelium that mediate cell-cell adhesion – calcium dependent.

These glycoproteins typically bind to cells by homophilic mechanisms, in which molecules from one cell are of the same type on adjacent cells; however, two other types of bonding can also occur: heterophilic bonding, in which molecules in one cell bind to molecules of a different type in the adjacent cell and the bond is ligand-dependent, in the latter, the rods of cadherin. they bind to each other through giant multivalent molecules.


Cadherins are divided into 3 subtypes:

  • Epithelial (E) or uvomorulin;
  • Placental (P);
  • Neural (N).

E and P cadherins are found at intercellular junctions, intraepithelial lymphocytes expressing the integrin ? 4 ? 7 to E-cadherin expressed in epithelial cells.

E-cadherin is found in most epithelial cells, and P-cadherin is present in the placenta and epithelium in association with E-cadherin. N-cadherin is found in nerve tissue, muscles, kidneys, and the lens of the eyes.

Autoantibodies directed at cadherins are the basis of the skin disease pemphigus vulgaris.

Cadherins are also of paramount importance for innate immunity and the repair of damaged tissues.

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