Plakoglobin (PG) is an armadillo protein that associates with both classic and desmosomal cadherins, but is primarily concentrated in mature desmosomes in epithelia. While reduced levels of PG have been reported in localized and hormone refractory prostate tumors, the functional significance of these changes is unknown. Here we report that PG expression is reduced in samples of a prostate tumor tissue array and inversely correlated with advancing tumor potential in 7 PCa cell lines. Ectopically expressed PG enhanced intercellular adhesive strength, and attenuated the motility and invasion of aggressive cell lines, whereas silencing PG in less tumorigenic cells had the opposite effect. PG also regulated cell-substrate adhesion and motility through extracellular matrix (ECM)-dependent inhibition of Src kinase, suggesting that PG's effects were not due solely to increased intercellular adhesion. PG silencing resulted in elevated levels of the ECM protein vitronectin (VN), and exposing PG-expressing cells to VN induced Src activity. Furthermore, increased VN levels and Src activation correlated with diminished expression of PG in patient tissues. Thus, PG may inhibit Src by keeping VN low. Our results suggest that loss of intercellular adhesion due to reduced PG expression might be exacerbated by activation of Src through a PG-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, PG down-regulation during PCa progression could contribute to the known VN-dependent promotion of PCa invasion and metastasis, demonstrating a novel functional interaction between desmosomal cell-cell adhesion and cell-substrate adhesion signaling axes in prostate cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)