Mutations of APC appear to initiate sporadic and inherited forms of human colorectal cancer. Although these mutations have been well characterized, little is known about the function of the APC gene product. Two cellular proteins that associate with APC were identified by nucleotide sequence analysis and peptide mapping as the E-cadherin-associated proteins alpha- and beta-catenin. A 27-residue fragment of APC containing a 15-amino acid repeat was sufficient for the interaction with the catenins. These results suggest an important link between tumor initiation and cell adhesion.