N-cadherin-mediated cell motility requires cis dimers

Young J. Kim, Keith R. Johnson, Margaret J. Wheelock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cadherins are expressed on the cell surface as a dimer in the membrane of one cell (cis dimer) that interacts with a cis dimer on an adjacent cell to form an adhesive trans dimer. It is well established that both cis and trans dimers must form for the cadherin to be an effective adhesion protein. In addition to their adhesive activity cadherins also play an important role in modulating cell behavior by regulating cell motility and signal transduction. Whether or not cis or trans dimers are necessary for the nonadhesive functions of cadherins has not been addressed. Here we show that N-cadherin cis dimers are necessary to induce cell motility in epithelial cells and that N-cadherin's ability to modulate the steady state levels of activated small GTPases requires both cis and trans dimers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalCell Communication and Adhesion
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Cadherins
  • Cell motility
  • Cis dimers
  • Junctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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