N-cadherin is an adhesion protein, which is important for intercellular interaction. It is involved in cell migration and motility during embryonic development, neuronal synapsis and cancer metastasis. There are several signaling cascades affected by N-cadherin including TGF-β, Rho family. N-cadherin is associated at the cytoplasmic domain with catenins (α, β, γ and p120) to facilitate metastasis. An increase in N-cadherin with down regulation of E-cadherin occurs during epithelial mesenchymal transition. Overexpression of N-cadherin is associated with cell cycle arrest, which correlates with a similar property of cancer stem cells (CSC). Connexin expression, which is important in CSC dormancy, is regulated by N-cadherin. This review discusses the potential of N-cadherin to be involved in maintaining CSCs, and to investigate pathways in N-cadherin expression. A better understanding of the role of N-Cadherin in CSC biology may identify new targets for the treatment of cancer.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.