Nectins are Ca2+-independent immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily cell adhesion molecules constituting a family with four members, all of which have three Ig-like loops at their extracellular regions. Nectins play roles in the formation of a variety of cell–cell adhesion apparatuses. There are at least three types of nectin-mediated cell adhesions: afadin- and cadherin-dependent, afadin-dependent and cadherin-independent, and afadin- and cadherin-independent. In addition, nectins trans-interact with nectin-like molecules (Necls) with three Ig-like loops and other Ig-like molecules with one to three Ig-like loops. Furthermore, nectins and Necls cis-interact with membrane receptors and integrins, some of which are associated with the nectin-mediated cell adhesions, and play roles in the regulation of many cellular functions, such as cell polarization, movement, proliferation, differentiation, and survival, co-operatively with these cell surface proteins. The nectin-mediated cell adhesions are implicated in a variety of diseases, including genetic disorders, neural disorders, and cancers. Of the three types of nectin-mediated cell adhesions, the afadin- and cadherin-dependent apparatus has been most extensively investigated, but the examples of the third type of apparatus independent of afadin and cadherin are recently increasing and its morphological and functional properties have been well characterized. We review here recent advances in research on this type of nectin-mediated cell adhesion apparatus, which is named nectin spot.
- © 2016 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society