E-cadherin, memeber of the cadherin superfamily is a calcium-dependent cell adhesion protein expressed on the epithelial cells. The integrin alphaEbeta7 is selectively expressed on intestinal intraepithelial T lymphocytes and CD8+ T lymphocytes in inflammatory lesions near epithelial cells.
E-cadherin undergoes both homophilic and heterophilic interactions. It is the only binding partner for alphaEbeta7. This interaction plays a key role in the proliferation of intrathymic T cell populations, T lymphocyte development and damage of target epithelia.