VE-cadherin and desmoplakin are assembled into dermal microvascular endothelial intercellular junctions: A pivotal role for plakoglobin in the recruitment of desmoplakin to intercellular junctions

Andrew P. Kowalczyk*, Pilar Navarro, Elisabetta Dejana, Elayne A. Bornslaeger, Kathleen J. Green, Daniel S. Kopp, Jeffrey E. Borgwardt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vascular endothelial cells assemble adhesive intercellular junctions comprising a unique cadherin, VE-cadherin, which is coupled to the actin cytoskeleton through cytoplasmic interactions with plakoglobin, β-catenin and α-catenin. However, the potential linkage between VE-cadherin and the vimentin intermediate filament cytoskeleton is not well characterized. Recent evidence indicates that lymphatic and vascular endothelial cells express desmoplakin, a cytoplasmic desmosomal protein that attaches intermediate filaments to the plasma membrane in epithelial cells. In the present study, desmoplakin was localized to intercellular junctions in human dermal microvascular endothelial cells. To determine if VE-cadherin could associate with desmoplakin, VE-cadherin, plakoglobin, and a desmoplakin amino-terminal polypeptide (DP-NTP) were co-expressed in L-cell fibroblasts. In the presence of VE-cadherin, both plakoglobin and DP-NTP were recruited to cell-cell borders. Interestingly, β-catenin could not substitute for plakoglobin in the recruitment of DP-NTP to cell borders, and DP-NTP bound to plakoglobin but not β-catenin in the yeast two-hybrid system. In addition, DP-NTP colocalized at cell-cell borders with α-catenin in the L-cell lines, and endogenous desmoplakin and α-catenin colocalized in cultured dermal microvascular endothelial cells. This is in striking contrast to epithelial cells, where desmoplakin and α-catenin are restricted to desmosomes and adherens junctions, respectively. These results suggest that endothelial cells assemble unique junctional complexes that couple VE-cadherin to both the actin and intermediate filament cytoskeleton.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3045-3057
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of cell science
Volume111
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1998

Keywords

  • Adhesion
  • Catenin
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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