Credit: Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore
National University of Singapore
Figure: Intracellular adherens junctions are initiated by interactions between extracellular domains of membrane-bound cadherins (shown in blue) on adjacent cells. On the intracellular side, the cadherins are linked to the actin cytoskeleton via a cytoplasmic plaque, which is chiefly constituted by catenin proteins: beta-catenins (yellow) and alpha-catenins (purple). The plaque also contains another prominent protein called vinculin (green) that primarily responds to mechanical and biochemical signals by extending in length, and in doing so, couples the cadherin-catenin complexes to the actin cytoskeleton (red).