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The tyrosine kinase substrate p120cas (CAS), which is structurally similar to the cell adhesion proteins beta-catenin and plakoglobin, was recently shown to associate with the E-cadherin-catenin cell adhesion complex. beta-catenin, plakoglobin, and CAS all have an Arm domain that consists of 10 to 13 repeats of a 42-amino-acid motif originally described in the Drosophila Armadillo protein. To determine if the association of CAS with the cadherin cell adhesion machinery is similar to that of beta-catenin and plakoglobin, we examined the CAS-cadherin-catenin interactions in a number of cell lines and in the yeast two-hybrid system. In the prostate carcinoma cell line PC3, CAS associated normally with cadherin complexes despite the specific absence of alpha-catenin in these cells. However, in the colon carcinoma cell line SW480, which has negligible E-cadherin expression, CAS did not associate with beta-catenin, plakoglobin, or alpha-catenin, suggesting that E-cadherin is the protein which bridges CAS to the rest of the complex. In addition, CAS did not associate with the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor protein in any of the cell lines analyzed. Interestingly, expression of the various CAS isoforms was quite heterogeneous in these tumor cell lines, and in the colon carcinoma cell line HCT116, which expresses normal levels of E-cadherin and the catenins, the CAS1 isoforms were completely absent. By using the yeast two-hybrid system, we confirmed the direct interaction between CAS and E-cadherin and determined that CAS Arm repeats 1 to 10 are necessary and sufficient for this interaction. Hence, like beta-catenin and plakoglobin, CAS interacts directly with E-cadherin in vivo; however, unlike beta-catenin and plakoglobin, CAS does not interact with APC or alpha-catenin.
p120cas is a tyrosine kinase substrate implicated in ligand-induced receptor signaling through the epidermal growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, and colony-stimulating factor receptors and in cell transformation by Src. Here we report that p120 associates with a complex containing E-cadherin, alpha-catenin, beta-catenin, and plakoglobin. Furthermore, p120 precisely colocalizes with E-cadherin and catenins in vivo in both normal and Src-transformed MDCK cells. Unlike beta-catenin and plakoglobin, p120 has at least four isoforms which are differentially expressed in a variety of cell types, suggesting novel means of modulating cadherin activities in cells. In Src-transformed MDCK cells, p120, beta-catenin, and plakoglobin were heavily phosphorylated on tyrosine, but the physical associations between these proteins were not disrupted. Association of p120 with the cadherin machinery indicates that both Src and receptor tyrosine kinases cross talk with proteins important for cadherin-mediated cell adhesion. These results also strongly suggest a role for p120 in cell adhesion.