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The Premetazoan Ancestry of Cadherins

Science, 15 February 2008
Vol. 319, Issue 5865, p. 946-948
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151084

The Premetazoan Ancestry of Cadherins

  1. Monika Abedin1,
  2. Nicole King1,2,*
  1. 1 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Center for Integrative Genomics, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
  2. 2 Department of Integrative Biology, University of California at Berkeley, 142 Life Sciences Addition, Mail Code 3200, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
  1. * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: nking{at}


Cadherin-mediated cell adhesion and signaling is essential for metazoan development and yet is absent from all other multicellular organisms. We found cadherin genes at numbers similar to those observed in complex metazoans in one of the closest single-celled relatives of metazoans, the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis. Because the evolution of metazoans from a single-celled ancestor required novel cell adhesion and signaling mechanisms, the discovery of diverse cadherins in choanoflagellates suggests that cadherins may have contributed to metazoan origins.

  • Received for publication 28 September 2007.
  • Accepted for publication 13 December 2007.


M. Abedin and N. King, The Premetazoan Ancestry of Cadherins. Science 319, 946-948 (2008).

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