[en] The disorganization of E-cadherin/catenin complexes and the overexpression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are frequently involved in the capacity of epithelial cells to acquire an invasive phenotype. The functional link between F-cadherin and MMPs was studied by transfecting invasive bronchial BZR tumor cells with human E-cadherin cDNA. Using different in vitro (cell dispersion, modified Boyden chamber) and in vivo assays (human airway epithelial xenograft), we showed that E-cadherin-positive clones displayed a decrease of invasive abilities. As shown by immunoprecipitation, the re-expressed E-cadherin was able to sequestrate one part of free cytoplasmic beta-catenin in BZR cells. The decrease of beta-catenin transcriptional activity in E-cadherin-transfected clones was demonstrated using the TOP-FLASH reporter construct. Finally, we observed a decrease of MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-9, and MT1-MMP, both at the mRNA and at the protein levels, in E-cadherin-positive clones whereas no changes in MMP-2, TIMP-1, or TIMP-2 were observed when compared with control clones. Moreover, zymography analysis revealed a loss of MMP-2 activation ability in E-cadherin-positive clones treated with the concanavalin A lectin. These data demonstrate a direct role of E-cadherin/catenin complex organization in the regulation of MMPs and suggest an implication of this regulation in the expression of an invasive phenotype by bronchial tumor cells.