Transcriptional downregulation of E-cadherin appears to be an important event in the progression of various epithelial tumors. SIP1 (ZEB-2) is a Smad-interacting, multi-zinc finger protein that shows specific DNA binding activity. Here, we report that expression of wild-type but not of mutated SIP1 downregulates mammalian E-cadherin transcription via binding to both conserved E2 boxes of the minimal E-cadherin promoter. SIP1 and Snail bind to partly overlapping promoter sequences and showed similar silencing effects. SIP1 can be induced by TGF-beta treatment and shows high expression in several E-cadherin-negative human carcinoma cell lines. Conditional expression of SIP1 in E-cadherin-positive MDCK cells abrogates E-cadherin-mediated intercellular adhesion and simultaneously induces invasion. SIP1 therefore appears to be a promoter of invasion in malignant epithelial tumors.