Medical Definition of cadherin
: any of various glycoproteins that mediate the calcium-dependent adhesion of cells to other cells ◆Cadherins are composed of polypeptide chains that typically extend through the cell membrane and have a large extracellular part which forms a binding domain. They are usually bound by cadherins present on adjacent cells. The X-ray crystallography showed that adjacent cadherins on the same cell would tend to form pairs. Furthermore, the tip of a cadherin from a neighboring cell would fit neatly between the two members of a pair, forming chemical bonds with both.—Josie Glausiusz, Discover, September 1995 Cadherins are critical mediators of metazoan cell adhesion and signaling and provide the structural basis for vital developmental processes, including tissue morphogenesis and maintenance, cell sorting, and cell polarization …—Monika Abedin et al., Science, 15 Feb. 2008
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