Cadherins: crucial regulators of structure and function in reproductive tissues
Cadherins are cell surface proteins that are directly involved in a wide variety of processes such as cell adhesion, cell sorting, cell survival, morphogenesis, formation of intercellular junctions, maintenance of tissue integrity and tumourigenesis. This review discusses the multiple functions of cadherins in reproductive tissues. Furthermore, the role of the intracellular signalling protein beta-catenin in regulating cadherin function is reviewed. Finally, the findings that cadherin concentrations in reproductive tissues are responsive to steroid hormones is discussed. The modulation of cadherin expression by hormones is in agreement with the hypothesis that these proteins are dynamically involved in the maintenance of structure and function in reproductive tissues.