Nectin: An adhesion molecule involved in formation of synapses

Akira Mizoguchi, Hiroyuki Nakanishi, Kazushi Kimura, Kaho Matsubara, Kumi Ozaki-Kuroda, Tatsuo Katata, Tomoyuki Honda, Yoshimoto Kiyohara, Kyun Heo, Mikito Higashi, Tomonari Tsutsumi, Satomi Sonoda, Chizuka Ide, Yoshimi Takai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


The nectin-afadin system is a novel cell-cell adhesion system that organizes adherens junctions cooperatively with the cadherin-catenin system in epithelial cells. Nectin is an immunoglobulin-like adhesion molecule, and afadin is an actin filament-binding protein that connects nectin to the actin cytoskeleton. Nectin has four isoforms (-1, -2, -3, and -4). Each nectin forms a homo-cis-dimer followed by formation of a homo-trans-dimer, but nectin-3 furthermore forms a hetero-trans-dimer with nectin-1 or -2, and the formation of each hetero-trans-dimer is stronger than that of each homo-trans-dimer. We show here that at the synapses between the mossy fiber terminals and dendrites of pyramidal cells in the CA3 area of adult mouse hippocampus, the nectin-afadin system colocalizes with the cadherin-catenin system, and nectin-1 and -3 asymmetrically localize at the pre- and postsynaptic sides of puncta adherentia junctions, respectively. During development, nectin-1 and -3 asymmetrically localize not only at puncta adherentia junctions but also at synaptic junctions. Inhibition of the nectin-based adhesion by an inhibitor of nectin-1 in cultured rat hippocampal neurons results in a decrease in synapse size and a concomitant increase in synapse number. These results indicate an important role of the nectin-afadin system in the formation of synapses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-565
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 4 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Afadin
  • Cadherin
  • Nectin
  • Puncta adherentia junctions
  • Synaptic junctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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