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Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (Ep-CAM) modulates cell-cell interactions mediated by classic cadherins.

Litvinov SV, Balzar M, Winter MJ, Bakker HA, Briaire-de Bruijn IH, Prins F, Fleuren GJ, Warnaar SO - J. Cell Biol. (1997)

Bottom Line: Similarly, the detergent-insoluble fractions of alpha- and beta-catenins decreased in cells overexpressing Ep-CAM.While the total beta-catenin content remains unchanged, a reduction in total cellular alpha-catenin is observed as Ep-CAM expression increases.The ability of Ep-CAM to modulate the cadherin-mediated cell-cell interactions, as demonstrated in the present study, suggests a role for this molecule in development of the proliferative, and probably malignant, phenotype of epithelial cells, since an increase of Ep-CAM expression was observed in vivo in association with hyperplastic and malignant proliferation of epithelial cells.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Pathology, Leiden University, Leiden 2300 RC, The Netherlands. slitvinov@pathology.medfac.leidenuniv.nl

ABSTRACT
The contribution of noncadherin-type, Ca2+-independent cell-cell adhesion molecules to the organization of epithelial tissues is, as yet, unclear. A homophilic, epithelial Ca2+-independent adhesion molecule (Ep-CAM) is expressed in most epithelia, benign or malignant proliferative lesions, or during embryogenesis. Here we demonstrate that ectopic Ep-CAM, when expressed in cells interconnected by classic cadherins (E- or N-cadherin), induces segregation of the transfectants from the parental cell type in coaggregation assays and in cultured mixed aggregates, respectively. In the latter assay, Ep-CAM-positive transfectants behave like cells with a decreased strength of cell-cell adhesion as compared to the parental cells. Using transfectants with an inducible Ep-CAM-cDNA construct, we demonstrate that increasing expression of Ep-CAM in cadherin-positive cells leads to the gradual abrogation of adherens junctions. Overexpression of Ep-CAM has no influence on the total amount of cellular cadherin, but affects the interaction of cadherins with the cytoskeleton since a substantial decrease in the detergent-insoluble fraction of cadherin molecules was observed. Similarly, the detergent-insoluble fractions of alpha- and beta-catenins decreased in cells overexpressing Ep-CAM. While the total beta-catenin content remains unchanged, a reduction in total cellular alpha-catenin is observed as Ep-CAM expression increases. As the cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesions diminish, Ep-CAM-mediated intercellular connections become predominant. An adhesion-defective mutant of Ep-CAM lacking the cytoplasmic domain has no effect on the cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesions. The ability of Ep-CAM to modulate the cadherin-mediated cell-cell interactions, as demonstrated in the present study, suggests a role for this molecule in development of the proliferative, and probably malignant, phenotype of epithelial cells, since an increase of Ep-CAM expression was observed in vivo in association with hyperplastic and malignant proliferation of epithelial cells.

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Examples of Ep-CAM expression by some cells within  the E-cadherin–positive cell population. (A) Heterogeneous expression of Ep-CAM in a basal cell carcinoma, as detected by immunofluorescent staining with mAb 323/A3 to Ep-CAM (green  fluorescence); the red fluorescence indicates the expression of  E-cadherin (mAb HECD-1). (B) The de novo expression of Ep-CAM in gastric mucosa in relation to the development of intestinal metaplasia; immunohistochemical staining with mAb 323/A3.  Note the bordering Ep-CAM–positive and –negative cells. Bars,  30 μM.
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Figure 1: Examples of Ep-CAM expression by some cells within the E-cadherin–positive cell population. (A) Heterogeneous expression of Ep-CAM in a basal cell carcinoma, as detected by immunofluorescent staining with mAb 323/A3 to Ep-CAM (green fluorescence); the red fluorescence indicates the expression of E-cadherin (mAb HECD-1). (B) The de novo expression of Ep-CAM in gastric mucosa in relation to the development of intestinal metaplasia; immunohistochemical staining with mAb 323/A3. Note the bordering Ep-CAM–positive and –negative cells. Bars, 30 μM.

Mentions: In many tumors that express Ep-CAM heterogeneously, an Ep-CAM–positive cell population may be found within an Ep-CAM–negative cell population, with both cell types expressing approximately equal levels of cadherins, as illustrated in Fig. 1 A by a case of basal cell carcinoma. In glandular tissues such as gastric epithelium, which are low/ negative for Ep-CAM, expression of Ep-CAM is related to the development of early stages of intestinal metaplasia (our unpublished observation). Even in tissues with relatively high Ep-CAM expression, such as colon, the development of polyps is accompanied by an increase in Ep-CAM expression (Salem et al., 1993). In intestinal metaplasia one may observe Ep-CAM–positive cells bordering morphologically identical normal cells that are Ep-CAM–negative (as illustrated in Fig. 1 B) Ep-CAM–positive cells bordering Ep-CAM–negative epithelial cells may also be found in some normal tissues such as hair follicles (Tsubura et al., 1992).


Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (Ep-CAM) modulates cell-cell interactions mediated by classic cadherins.

Litvinov SV, Balzar M, Winter MJ, Bakker HA, Briaire-de Bruijn IH, Prins F, Fleuren GJ, Warnaar SO - J. Cell Biol. (1997)

Examples of Ep-CAM expression by some cells within  the E-cadherin–positive cell population. (A) Heterogeneous expression of Ep-CAM in a basal cell carcinoma, as detected by immunofluorescent staining with mAb 323/A3 to Ep-CAM (green  fluorescence); the red fluorescence indicates the expression of  E-cadherin (mAb HECD-1). (B) The de novo expression of Ep-CAM in gastric mucosa in relation to the development of intestinal metaplasia; immunohistochemical staining with mAb 323/A3.  Note the bordering Ep-CAM–positive and –negative cells. Bars,  30 μM.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2140211&req=5

Figure 1: Examples of Ep-CAM expression by some cells within the E-cadherin–positive cell population. (A) Heterogeneous expression of Ep-CAM in a basal cell carcinoma, as detected by immunofluorescent staining with mAb 323/A3 to Ep-CAM (green fluorescence); the red fluorescence indicates the expression of E-cadherin (mAb HECD-1). (B) The de novo expression of Ep-CAM in gastric mucosa in relation to the development of intestinal metaplasia; immunohistochemical staining with mAb 323/A3. Note the bordering Ep-CAM–positive and –negative cells. Bars, 30 μM.
Mentions: In many tumors that express Ep-CAM heterogeneously, an Ep-CAM–positive cell population may be found within an Ep-CAM–negative cell population, with both cell types expressing approximately equal levels of cadherins, as illustrated in Fig. 1 A by a case of basal cell carcinoma. In glandular tissues such as gastric epithelium, which are low/ negative for Ep-CAM, expression of Ep-CAM is related to the development of early stages of intestinal metaplasia (our unpublished observation). Even in tissues with relatively high Ep-CAM expression, such as colon, the development of polyps is accompanied by an increase in Ep-CAM expression (Salem et al., 1993). In intestinal metaplasia one may observe Ep-CAM–positive cells bordering morphologically identical normal cells that are Ep-CAM–negative (as illustrated in Fig. 1 B) Ep-CAM–positive cells bordering Ep-CAM–negative epithelial cells may also be found in some normal tissues such as hair follicles (Tsubura et al., 1992).

Bottom Line: Similarly, the detergent-insoluble fractions of alpha- and beta-catenins decreased in cells overexpressing Ep-CAM.While the total beta-catenin content remains unchanged, a reduction in total cellular alpha-catenin is observed as Ep-CAM expression increases.The ability of Ep-CAM to modulate the cadherin-mediated cell-cell interactions, as demonstrated in the present study, suggests a role for this molecule in development of the proliferative, and probably malignant, phenotype of epithelial cells, since an increase of Ep-CAM expression was observed in vivo in association with hyperplastic and malignant proliferation of epithelial cells.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Pathology, Leiden University, Leiden 2300 RC, The Netherlands. slitvinov@pathology.medfac.leidenuniv.nl

ABSTRACT
The contribution of noncadherin-type, Ca2+-independent cell-cell adhesion molecules to the organization of epithelial tissues is, as yet, unclear. A homophilic, epithelial Ca2+-independent adhesion molecule (Ep-CAM) is expressed in most epithelia, benign or malignant proliferative lesions, or during embryogenesis. Here we demonstrate that ectopic Ep-CAM, when expressed in cells interconnected by classic cadherins (E- or N-cadherin), induces segregation of the transfectants from the parental cell type in coaggregation assays and in cultured mixed aggregates, respectively. In the latter assay, Ep-CAM-positive transfectants behave like cells with a decreased strength of cell-cell adhesion as compared to the parental cells. Using transfectants with an inducible Ep-CAM-cDNA construct, we demonstrate that increasing expression of Ep-CAM in cadherin-positive cells leads to the gradual abrogation of adherens junctions. Overexpression of Ep-CAM has no influence on the total amount of cellular cadherin, but affects the interaction of cadherins with the cytoskeleton since a substantial decrease in the detergent-insoluble fraction of cadherin molecules was observed. Similarly, the detergent-insoluble fractions of alpha- and beta-catenins decreased in cells overexpressing Ep-CAM. While the total beta-catenin content remains unchanged, a reduction in total cellular alpha-catenin is observed as Ep-CAM expression increases. As the cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesions diminish, Ep-CAM-mediated intercellular connections become predominant. An adhesion-defective mutant of Ep-CAM lacking the cytoplasmic domain has no effect on the cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesions. The ability of Ep-CAM to modulate the cadherin-mediated cell-cell interactions, as demonstrated in the present study, suggests a role for this molecule in development of the proliferative, and probably malignant, phenotype of epithelial cells, since an increase of Ep-CAM expression was observed in vivo in association with hyperplastic and malignant proliferation of epithelial cells.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus