Stable and unstable cadherin dimers: Mechanisms of formation and roles in cell adhesion

Regina B. Troyanovsky, Oscar Laur, Sergey M. Troyanovsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Numerous attempts to elucidate the strength of cadherin dimerization that mediates intercellular adhesion have produced controversial and inconclusive results. To clarify this issue, we compared E-cadherin dimerization on the surface of living cells with how the same process unfolds on agarose beads. In both cases, dimerization was monitored by the same site-specific cross-linking assay, greatly simplifying data interpretation. We showed that on the agarose surface under physiological conditions, E-cadherin produced a weak dimer that immediately dissociated after the depletion of calcium ions. However, either at pH 5 or in the presence of cadmium ions, E-cadherin produced a strong dimer that was unable to dissociate upon calcium depletion. Both types of dimers were W156-dependent. Remarkably, only the strong dimer was found on the surface of living cells. We also showed that the intracellular cadherin region, the clustering of which through catenins had been proposed as stabilizer of weak intercadherin interactions, was not needed, in fact, for cadherin junction assembly. Taken together, our data present convincing evidence that cadherin adhesion is based on high-affinity cadherin-cadherin interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4343-4352
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Volume18
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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