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N-glycosylation status of E-cadherin controls cytoskeletal dynamics through the organization of distinct β-catenin- and γ-catenin-containing AJs

Authors Basem T Jamal, Mihai Nita-Lazar, Zhennan Gao, et al

Published Date September 2009 Volume 2009:1 Pages 67—80

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CHC.S5965

Published 17 September 2009

Basem T Jamal1,3, Mihai Nita-Lazar1,3, Zhennan Gao1, Bakr Amin1, Janice Walker2, Maria A Kukuruzinska1

1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA; 2Department of Anatomy, Pathology and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 3These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: N-glycosylation of E-cadherin has been shown to inhibit cell–cell adhesion. Specifically, our recent studies have provided evidence that the reduction of E-cadherin N-glycosylation promoted the recruitment of stabilizing components, vinculin and serine/threonine protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), to adherens junctions (AJs) and enhanced the association of AJs with the actin cytoskeleton. Here, we examined the details of how N-glycosylation of E-cadherin affected the molecular organization of AJs and their cytoskeletal interactions. Using the hypoglycosylated E-cadherin variant, V13, we show that V13/β-catenin complexes preferentially interacted with PP2A and with the microtubule motor protein dynein. This correlated with dephosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein tau, suggesting that increased association of PP2A with V13-containing AJs promoted their tethering to microtubules. On the other hand, V13/γ-catenin complexes associated more with vinculin, suggesting that they mediated the interaction of AJs with the actin cytoskeleton. N-glycosylation driven changes in the molecular organization of AJs were physiologically significant because transfection of V13 into A253 cancer cells, lacking both mature AJs and tight junctions (TJs), promoted the formation of stable AJs and enhanced the function of TJs to a greater extent than wild-type E-cadherin. These studies provide the first mechanistic insights into how N-glycosylation of E-cadherin drives changes in AJ composition through the assembly of distinct β-catenin- and γ-catenin-containing scaffolds that impact the interaction with different cytoskeletal components.

Keywords: E-cadherin, N-glycosylation, PP2A, microtubules, actin cytoskeleton

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