Nectin family of cell-adhesion molecules: Structural and molecular aspects of function and specificity

Dibyendu Samanta, Steven C. Almo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Cell-cell adhesive processes are central to the physiology of multicellular organisms. A number of cell surface molecules contribute to cell-cell adhesion, and the dysfunction of adhesive processes underlies numerous developmental defects and inherited diseases. The nectins, a family of four immunoglobulin superfamily members (nectin-1 to -4), interact through their extracellular domains to support cell-cell adhesion. While both homophilic and heterophilic interactions among the nectins are implicated in cell-cell adhesion, cell-based and biochemical studies suggest heterophilic interactions are stronger than homophilic interactions and control a range of physiological processes. In addition to interactions within the nectin family, heterophilic associations with nectin-like molecules, immune receptors, and viral glycoproteins support a wide range of biological functions, including immune modulation, cancer progression, host-pathogen interactions and immune evasion. We review current structural and molecular knowledge of nectin recognition processes, with a focus on the biochemical and biophysical determinants of affinity and selectivity that drive distinct nectin associations. These proteins and interactions are discussed as potential targets for immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-658
Number of pages14
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • Cadherin
  • Crystal structures
  • Immune receptors
  • Immunoglobulin fold
  • Nectin
  • Nectin homodimers
  • Nectin-like molecules
  • Viral entry receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nectin family of cell-adhesion molecules: Structural and molecular aspects of function and specificity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this