The alphaE-catenin gene (CTNNA1) acts as an invasion-suppressor gene in human colon cancer cells.
The acquisition of invasiveness is a crucial step in the malignant progression of cancer. In cancers of the colon and of other organs the E-cadherin/catenin complex, which is implicated in homotypic cell-cell adhesion as well as in signal transduction, serves as a powerful inhibitor of invasion. We show here that one allele of the alphaE-catenin (CTNNA1) gene is mutated in the human colon cancer cell family HCT-8, which is identical to HCT-15, DLD-1 and HRT-18. Genetic instability, due to mutations in the HMSH6 (also called GTBP) mismatch repair gene, results in the spontaneous occurrence of invasive variants, all carrying either a mutation or exon skipping in the second alphaE-catenin allele. The alphaE-catenin gene is therefore, an invasion-suppressor gene in accordance with the two-hit model of Knudsen for tumour-suppressor genes. (+info
Characterization of ZO-2 as a MAGUK family member associated with tight as well as adherens junctions with a binding affinity to occludin and alpha catenin.
ZO-2, a member of the MAGUK family, was thought to be specific for tight junctions (TJs) in contrast to ZO-1, another MAGUK family member, which is localized at TJs and adherens junctions (AJs) in epithelial and nonepithelial cells, respectively. Mouse ZO-2 cDNA was isolated, and a specific polyclonal antibody was generated using corresponding synthetic peptides as antigens. Immunofluorescence microscopy with this polyclonal antibody revealed that, similarly to ZO-1, in addition to TJs in epithelial cells, ZO-2 was also concentrated at AJs in nonepithelial cells such as fibroblasts and cardiac muscle cells lacking TJs. When NH2-terminal dlg-like and COOH-terminal non-dlg-like domains of ZO-2 (N-ZO-2 and C-ZO-2, respectively) were separately introduced into cultured cells, N-ZO-2 was colocalized with endogenous ZO-1/ZO-2, i.e. at TJs in epithelial cells and at AJs in non-epithelial cells, whereas C-ZO-2 was distributed along actin filaments. Consistently, occludin as well as alpha catenin directly bound to N-ZO-2 as well as the NH2-terminal dlg-like portion of ZO-1 (N-ZO-1) in vitro. Furthermore, immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that the second PDZ domain of ZO-2 was directly associated with N-ZO-1. These findings indicated that ZO-2 forms a complex with ZO-1/occludin or ZO-1/alpha catenin to establish TJ or AJ domains, respectively. (+info
Cadherin-11 is expressed in invasive breast cancer cell lines.
In several cancers, including breast cancer, loss of E-cadherin expression is correlated with a loss of the epithelial phenotype and with a gain of invasiveness. Cells that have lost E-cadherin expression are either poorly invasive with a rounded phenotype, or highly invasive, with a mesenchymal phenotype. Most cells lacking E-cadherin still retain weak calcium-dependent adhesion, indicating the presence of another cadherin family member. We have now examined the expression of the mesenchymal cadherin, cadherin-11, in breast cancer cell lines. Cadherin-11 mRNA and protein, as well as a variant form, are expressed in the most invasive cell lines but not in any of the noninvasive cell lines. Cadherin-11 is localized to a detergent-soluble pool and is associated with both alpha- and beta-catenin. Immunocytochemistry shows that cadherin-11 is localized to the cell membrane at sites of cell-cell contact as well as at lamellipodia-like projections, which do not interact with other cells. These results suggest that cadherin-11 expression may be well correlated with the invasive phenotype in cancer cells and may serve as a molecular marker for the more aggressive, invasive subset of tumors. Cadherin-11 may mediate the interaction between malignant tumor cells and other cell types that normally express cadherin-11, such as stromal cells or osteoblasts or perhaps even with the surrounding extracellular matrix, thus facilitating tumor cell invasion and metastasis. (+info
Functional domains of alpha-catenin required for the strong state of cadherin-based cell adhesion.
The interaction of cadherin-catenin complex with the actin-based cytoskeleton through alpha-catenin is indispensable for cadherin-based cell adhesion activity. We reported previously that E-cadherin-alpha-catenin fusion molecules showed cell adhesion and cytoskeleton binding activities when expressed in nonepithelial L cells. Here, we constructed deletion mutants of E-cadherin-alpha-catenin fusion molecules lacking various domains of alpha-catenin and introduced them into L cells. Detailed analysis identified three distinct functional domains of alpha-catenin: a vinculin/alpha-actinin-binding domain, a ZO-1-binding domain, and an adhesion-modulation domain. Furthermore, cell dissociation assay revealed that the fusion molecules containing the ZO-1-binding domain in addition to the adhesion-modulation domain conferred the strong state of cell adhesion activity on transfectants, although those lacking the ZO-1-binding domain conferred only the weak state. The disorganization of actin-based cytoskeleton by cytochalasin D treatment shifted the cadherin-based cell adhesion from the strong to the weak state. In the epithelial cells, where alpha-catenin was not precisely colocalized with ZO-1, the ZO-1-binding domain did not completely support the strong state of cell adhesion activity. Our studies showed that the interaction of alpha-catenin with the actin-based cytoskeleton through the ZO-1-binding domain is required for the strong state of E-cadherin-based cell adhesion activity. (+info
Different behavior of l-afadin and neurabin-II during the formation and destruction of cell-cell adherens junction.
We have recently isolated two novel actin filament-binding proteins, l-afadin and neurabin-II and shown that they are localized at cell-cell adherens junction (AJ) in epithelial cells. We found here that l-afadin, neurabin-II, ZO-1, and E-cadherin showed similar and different behavior during the formation and destruction of cell-cell AJ in MDCK cells. In MDCK cells, the accumulation of both l-afadin and E-cadherin, but not that of ZO-1, changed in parallel depending on Rac small G protein activity. Dissociation of MDCK cells by culturing the cells at 2 microM Ca2+ caused rapid endocytosis of E-cadherin, but not that of l-afadin or ZO-1. Addition of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate to these dissociated cells formed a tight junction-like structure where ZO-1 and l-afadin, but not neurabin-II or E-cadherin, accumulated. We furthermore found that, in non-epithelial EL cells, which expressed E-cadherin and attached to each other, l-afadin, neurabin-II, ZO-1 and E-cadherin were all localized at AJ. In cadherin-deficient L cells, I-afadin was mainly localized at cell-cell contact sites, but ZO-1 was mainly localized at the tip area of cell processes. Neurabin-II did not accumulate at the plasma membrane area. Neither l-afadin nor neurabin-II significantly interacted with alpha-, beta-catenin, E-cadherin, ZO-1 or occludin. (+info
Cell-extracellular matrix interactions and EGF are important regulators of the basal mammary epithelial cell phenotype.
The mammary epithelium is composed of a luminal epithelium and a basal layer containing myoepithelial cells and undifferentiated precursors. Basal cells express specific protein markers, such as keratin 14 (K14) and P-cadherin. To study the factors that regulate the basal mammary epithelial cell phenotype, we have established two clonal derivatives of the mouse HC11 cell line, BC20 and BC44, expressing high levels of K14 and P-cadherin. Unlike the parental HC11 cells, these basal cells did not produce beta-casein in response to lactogenic hormone treatment; however their phenotype appeared to be plastic. Cultured in EGF-free medium, they exhibited enhanced cell-extracellular matrix adhesions and deficient cell-cell junctions, whereas long-term treatment with EGF induced a decrease of focal contact number and establishment of cell-cell junctions, resulting in downregulation of K14 and P-cadherin expression at the protein and mRNA levels. To determine whether cell-extracellular matrix interactions mediated by integrins have a role in the regulation of the expression of K14 and P-cadherin, the amounts of transcripts for the two proteins were analysed in the basal cells, which were plated on the function-blocking antibodies against beta1 and alpha6 integrin chains, on fibronectin and on laminin 5. The amount of P-cadherin transcript was 2- to 4-fold higher in cells plated on the function-blocking anti-integrin antibodies and on the extracellular matrix proteins, as compared to cells plated on poly-L-lysine, whereas the K14 transcript levels were not significantly modified in response to adhesion. The data demonstrate that integrin-mediated cell interaction with extracellular matrix is directly implicated in the control of P-cadherin expression, and that EGF and cell-extracellular matrix adhesion events are important regulators of the basal mammary epithelial cell phenotype. (+info
Rearrangement of adherens junctions by transforming growth factor-beta1: role of contraction.
The signal transduction pathways that lead to disruption of pulmonary endothelial monolayer integrity by transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) have not been elucidated. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether disassembly of the adherens junction is temporally associated with the TGF-beta1-induced decrease in pulmonary endothelial monolayer integrity. Measurement of albumin clearance and electrical resistance showed that monolayer integrity started to decrease between 1 and 2 h post-TGF-beta1 treatment and continued to slowly decrease over the next 6 h. Immunofluorescence microscopy of monolayers between 2 and 3 h post-TGF-beta1 showed that beta-catenin, plakoglobin, alpha-catenin, and cadherin-5 were colocalized both at the cell periphery and in newly formed bands that are perpendicular to the cell-cell border. At 4 h post-TGF-beta1, cells began separating; however, beta- and alpha-catenin, plakoglobin, and cadherin-5 could still be found at the cell periphery at areas of cell separation and in strands between separated cells. By 8 h, these junctional proteins were no longer present at the cell periphery at areas of cell separation. The myosin light chain kinase inhibitor KT-5926 prevented the TGF-beta1-induced change in integrity but did not inhibit the formation of actin stress fibers or the formation of bands containing adherens junction proteins that were perpendicular to the cell-cell junction. Overall, these results suggest that adherens junction disassembly occurs after cell separation during TGF-beta1-induced decreases in pulmonary endothelial monolayer integrity and that the loss of integrity may be due to the activation of a myosin light chain kinase-dependent signaling cascade. (+info
E-cadherin and alpha-, beta- and gamma-catenin expression in prostate cancers: correlation with tumour invasion.
The E-cadherin-catenin complex plays an important role in establishing and maintaining intercellular connections and morphogenesis and reduced expression of its constituent molecules is associated with invasion and metastasis. In the present study, we examined E-cadherin and alpha-, beta- and gamma-catenin levels in tumour tissues obtained by radical prostatectomy in order to investigate the relationship with histopathological tumour invasion. Immunohistochemical findings for 45 prostate cancer specimens demonstrated aberrant expression of each molecule to be associated with dedifferentiation and, in addition, alteration of staining patterns for the three types of catenin was significantly correlated with capsular but not lymphatic or vascular invasion. The data thus suggest that three types of catenin may be useful predictive markers for biological aggressiveness of prostate cancer. (+info