VE-cadherin and β-catenin binding dynamics during histamine-induced endothelial hyperpermeability

Mingzhang Guo, Jerome W. Breslin, Mack H. Wu, Cara J. Gottardi, Sarah Y. Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


β-Catenin plays an important role in the regulation of vascular endothelial cell-cell adhesions and barrier function by linking the VE-cadherin junction complex to the cytoskeleton. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of β-catenin and VE-cadherin interactions on endothelial permeability during inflammatory stimulation by histamine. We first assessed the ability of a β-catenin binding polypeptide known as inhibitor of β-catenin and T cell factor (ICAT) to compete β-catenin binding to VE-cadherin in vitro. We then overexpressed recombinant FLAG-ICAT in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to study its impact on endothelial barrier function controlled by cell-cell adhesions. The binding of β-catenin to VE-cadherin was quantified before and after stimulation with histamine along with measurements of transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) and apparent permeability to albumin (Pa) under the same conditions. The results showed that ICAT bound to β-catenin and competitively inhibited binding of the VE-cadherin cytoplasmic domain to β-catenin in a concentration-dependent manner. Overexpression of FLAG-ICAT in endothelial cell monolayers did not affect their basal permeability properties, as indicated by unaltered TER and Pa; however, the magnitude and duration of histamine-induced decreases in TER were significantly augmented. Likewise, the increase in Pa in the presence of histamine was exacerbated. Overexpression of FLAG-ICAT also significantly decreased the level of β-catenin-associated VE-cadherin following histamine stimulation. Taken together, these data suggest that inflammatory agents like histamine cause a transient and reversible disruption of binding between β-catenin and VE-cadherin, during which endothelial permeability is elevated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C977-C984
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Cell-cell junction
  • Endothelial barrier
  • Inflammation
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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