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Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
Tumor vasculature is known to be more permeable than the vasculature found in healthy tissue, which in turn can lead to a more aggressive tumor phenotype and impair drug delivery into tumors. While the stiffening of the stroma surrounding solid tumors has been reported to increase vascular permeability, the mechanism of this process remains unclear. Here, we utilize an in vitro model of tumor stiffening, ex ovo culture, and a mouse model to investigate the molecular mechanism by which matrix stiffening alters endothelial barrier function. Our data indicate that the increased endothelial permeability caused by heightened matrix stiffness can be prevented by pharmaceutical inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) both in vitro and ex ovo. Matrix stiffness-mediated FAK activation determines Src localization to cell-cell junctions, which then induces increased vascular endothelial cadherin phosphorylation both in vitro and in vivo. Endothelial cells in stiff tumors have more activated Src and higher levels of phosphorylated vascular endothelial cadherin at adherens junctions compared to endothelial cells in more compliant tumors. Altogether, our data indicate that matrix stiffness regulates endothelial barrier integrity through FAK activity, providing one mechanism by which extracellular matrix stiffness regulates endothelial barrier function. Additionally, our work also provides further evidence that FAK is a promising potential target for cancer therapy because FAK plays a critical role in the regulation of endothelial barrier integrity.-Wang, W., Lollis, E. M., Bordeleau, F., Reinhart-King, C. A. Matrix stiffness regulates vascular integrity through focal adhesion kinase activity.
Kidney collecting system development requires integrin-dependent cell-extracellular matrix interactions. Integrins are heterodimeric transmembrane receptors consisting of α and β subunits; crucial integrins in the kidney collecting system express the β1 subunit. The β1 cytoplasmic tail has two NPxY motifs that mediate functions by binding to cytoplasmic signaling and scaffolding molecules. Talins, scaffolding proteins that bind to the membrane proximal NPxY motif, are proposed to activate integrins and to link them to the actin cytoskeleton. We have defined the role of talin binding to the β1 proximal NPxY motif in the developing kidney collecting system in mice that selectively express a Y-to-A mutation in this motif. The mice developed a hypoplastic dysplastic collecting system. Collecting duct cells expressing this mutation had moderate abnormalities in cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and growth factor-dependent signaling. In contrast, mice lacking talins in the developing ureteric bud developed kidney agenesis and collecting duct cells had severe cytoskeletal, adhesion and polarity defects. Thus, talins are essential for kidney collecting duct development through mechanisms that extend beyond those requiring binding to the β1 integrin subunit NPxY motif.
© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
The intracellular protein p120 catenin aids in maintenance of cell-cell adhesion by regulating E-cadherin stability in epithelial cells. In an effort to understand the biology of p120 catenin in pancreas development, we ablated p120 catenin in mouse pancreatic progenitor cells, which resulted in deletion of p120 catenin in all epithelial lineages of the developing mouse pancreas: islet, acinar, centroacinar, and ductal. Loss of p120 catenin resulted in formation of dilated epithelial tubules, expansion of ductal epithelia, loss of acinar cells, and the induction of pancreatic inflammation. Aberrant branching morphogenesis and tubulogenesis were also observed. Throughout development, the phenotype became more severe, ultimately resulting in an abnormal pancreas comprised primarily of duct-like epithelium expressing early progenitor markers. In pancreatic tissue lacking p120 catenin, overall epithelial architecture remained intact; however, actin cytoskeleton organization was disrupted, an observation associated with increased cytoplasmic PKCζ. Although we observed reduced expression of adherens junction proteins E-cadherin, β-catenin, and α-catenin, p120 catenin family members p0071, ARVCF, and δ-catenin remained present at cell membranes in homozygous p120(f/f) pancreases, potentially providing stability for maintenance of epithelial integrity during development. Adult mice homozygous for deletion of p120 catenin displayed dilated main pancreatic ducts, chronic pancreatitis, acinar to ductal metaplasia (ADM), and mucinous metaplasia that resembles PanIN1a. Taken together, our data demonstrate an essential role for p120 catenin in pancreas development.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Apical constriction (AC) is a widely utilized mechanism of cell shape change whereby epithelial cells transform from a cylindrical to conical shape, which can facilitate morphogenetic movements during embryonic development. Invertebrate epithelial cells undergoing AC depend on the contraction of apical cortex-spanning actomyosin filaments that generate force on the apical junctions and pull them toward the middle of the cell, effectively reducing the apical circumference. A current challenge is to determine whether these mechanisms are conserved in vertebrates and to identify the molecules responsible for linking apical junctions with the AC machinery. Utilizing the developing mouse eye as a model, we have uncovered evidence that lens placode AC may be partially dependent on apically positioned myosin-containing filaments associated with the zonula adherens. In addition we found that, among several junctional components, p120-catenin genetically interacts with Shroom3, a protein required for AC during embryonic morphogenesis. Further analysis revealed that, similar to Shroom3, p120-catenin is required for AC of lens cells. Finally, we determined that p120-catenin functions by recruiting Shroom3 to adherens junctions. Together, these data identify a novel role for p120-catenin during AC and further define the mechanisms required for vertebrate AC.
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
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).
p120-catenin is a multidomain intracellular protein, which mediates a number of cellular functions, including stabilization of cell-cell transmembrane cadherin complexes as well as regulation of actin dynamics associated with barrier function, lamellipodia formation, and cell migration via modulation of the activities of small GTPAses. One mechanism involves p120 catenin interaction with Rho GTPase activating protein (p190RhoGAP), leading to p190RhoGAP recruitment to cell periphery and local inhibition of Rho activity. In this study, we have identified a stretch of 23 amino acids within the C-terminal domain of p120 catenin as the minimal sequence responsible for the recruitment of p190RhoGAP (herein referred to as CRAD; catenin-RhoGAP association domain). Expression of the p120-catenin truncated mutant lacking the CRAD in endothelial cells attenuated effects of barrier protective oxidized phospholipid, OxPAPC. This effect was accompanied by inhibition of membrane translocation of p190RhoGAP, increased Rho signaling, as well as suppressed activation of Rac1 and its cytoskeletal effectors PAK1 (p21-activated kinase 1) and cortactin. Expression of p120 catenin-truncated mutant lacking CRAD also delayed the recovery process after thrombin-induced endothelial barrier disruption. Concomitantly, RhoA activation and downstream signaling were sustained for a longer period of time, whereas Rac signaling was inhibited. These data demonstrate a critical role for p120-catenin (amino acids 820-843) domain in the p120-catenin·p190RhoGAP signaling complex assembly, membrane targeting, and stimulation of p190RhoGAP activity toward inhibition of the Rho pathway and reciprocal up-regulation of Rac signaling critical for endothelial barrier regulation.
Adherens junctions (AJs) are essential for the maintenance of epithelial homeostasis and a key factor in the regulation of cell migration and tumor progression. AJs maintain cell-cell adhesion by linking transmembrane proteins to the actin cytoskeleton. Additionally, they participate in recruitment of signaling receptors and cytoplasmic proteins to the membrane. During cellular invasion or migration, AJs are dynamically regulated and their composition modified to initiate changes in signaling pathways and cytoskeleton organization involved in cellular motility. Loss of E-cadherin, a key component of AJs, is characteristic of epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) and is associated with tumor cell invasion. We will review recent findings describing novel mechanisms involved in E-cadherin transcription regulation, endocytosis of E-cadherin and signaling associated with loss of AJs as well as reorganization of the AJ during EMT.
The Rab11 effector Rab11-family interacting protein 2 (Rab11-FIP2) regulates transcytosis through its interactions with Rab11a and myosin Vb. Previous studies implicated Rab11-FIP2 in the establishment of polarity in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells through phosphorylation of Ser-227 by MARK2. Here we examine the dynamic role of Rab11-FIP2 phosphorylation on MDCK cell polarity. Endogenous Rab11-FIP2 phosphorylated on Ser-227 coalesces on vesicular plaques during the reestablishment of polarity after either monolayer wounding or calcium switch. Whereas expression of the nonphosphorylatable Rab11-FIP2(S227A) elicits a loss in lumen formation in MDCK cell cysts grown in Matrigel, the putative pseudophosphorylated Rab11-FIP2(S227E) mutant induces the formation of cysts with multiple lumens. On permeable filters, Rab11-FIP2(S227E)-expressing cells exhibit alterations in the composition of both the adherens and tight junctions. At the adherens junction, p120 catenin and K-cadherin are retained, whereas the majority of the E-cadherin is lost. Although ZO-1 is retained at the tight junction, occludin is lost and the claudin composition is altered. Of interest, the effects of Rab11-FIP2 on cellular polarity did not involve myosin Vb or Rab11a. These results indicate that Ser-227 phosphorylation of Rab11-FIP2 regulates the composition of both adherens and tight junctions and is intimately involved in the regulation of polarity in epithelial cells.
Tight junctions (TJs) and adherens junctions (AJs) are key determinants of the structure and permeability of epithelial barriers. Although exocytic delivery to the cell surface is crucial for junctional assembly, little is known about the mechanisms controlling TJ and AJ exocytosis. This study was aimed at investigating whether a key mediator of exocytosis, soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor (NSF) attachment protein alpha (αSNAP), regulates epithelial junctions. αSNAP was enriched at apical junctions in SK-CO15 and T84 colonic epithelial cells and in normal human intestinal mucosa. siRNA-mediated knockdown of αSNAP inhibited AJ/TJ assembly and establishment of the paracellular barrier in SK-CO15 cells, which was accompanied by a significant down-regulation of p120-catenin and E-cadherin expression. A selective depletion of p120 catenin effectively disrupted AJ and TJ structure and compromised the epithelial barrier. However, overexpression of p120 catenin did not rescue the defects of junctional structure and permeability caused by αSNAP knockdown thereby suggesting the involvement of additional mechanisms. Such mechanisms did not depend on NSF functions or induction of cell death, but were associated with disruption of the Golgi complex and down-regulation of a Golgi-associated guanidine nucleotide exchange factor, GBF1. These findings suggest novel roles for αSNAP in promoting the formation of epithelial AJs and TJs by controlling Golgi-dependent expression and trafficking of junctional proteins.