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p120-catenin (p120) modulates adherens junction (AJ) dynamics by controlling the stability of classical cadherins. Among all p120 isoforms, p120-3A and p120-1A are the most prevalent. Both stabilize cadherins, but p120-3A is preferred in epithelia, whereas p120-1A takes precedence in neurons, fibroblasts, and macrophages. During epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, E- to N-cadherin switching coincides with p120-3A to -1A alternative splicing. These isoforms differ by a 101-amino acid "head domain" comprising the p120-1A N-terminus. Although its exact role is unknown, the head domain likely mediates developmental and cancer-associated events linked to p120-1A expression (e.g., motility, invasion, metastasis). Here we identified delta-interacting protein A (DIPA) as the first head domain-specific binding partner and candidate mediator of isoform 1A activity. DIPA colocalizes with AJs in a p120-1A- but not 3A-dependent manner. Moreover, all DIPA family members (Ccdc85a, Ccdc85b/DIPA, and Ccdc85c) interact reciprocally with p120 family members (p120, δ-catenin, p0071, and ARVCF), suggesting significant functional overlap. During zebrafish neural tube development, both knockdown and overexpression of DIPA phenocopy N-cadherin mutations, an effect bearing functional ties to a reported mouse hydrocephalus phenotype associated with Ccdc85c. These studies identify a novel, highly conserved interaction between two protein families that may participate either individually or collectively in N-cadherin-mediated development.
© 2014 Markham et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).