Author(s): Sheibani N, Sorenson CM, Frazier WA
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Abstract The role of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) in endothelial cell-cell interactions and its contribution to cadherin-mediated cell adhesion are poorly understood. Such studies have been difficult because all known endothelial cells express PECAM-1. We have used Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells as a model system in which to evaluate the role of PECAM-1 isoforms that differ in their cytoplasmic domains in cell-cell interactions. MDCK cells lack endogenous PECAM-1 but form cell-cell junctions similar to those of endothelial cells, in which PECAM-1 is concentrated. MDCK cells were transfected with two isoforms of murine PECAM-1, Delta15 and Delta14&15, the predominant isoforms expressed in vivo. Expression of the Delta15 isoform resulted in apparent dedifferentiation of MDCK cells concomitant with the loss of adherens junctions, down-regulation of E-cadherin, alpha- and beta-catenin expression, and sustained activation of extracellular regulated kinases. The Delta15 isoform was not concentrated at cell-cell contacts. In contrast, the Delta14&15 isoform localized to sites of cell-cell contact and had no effect on MDCK cell morphology, cadherin/catenin expression, or extracellular regulated kinase activity. Thus, the presence of exon 14 in the cytoplasmic domain of PECAM-1 has dramatic effects on the ability of cells to maintain adherens junctions and an epithelial phenotype. Therefore, changes in the expression of exon 14 containing PECAM-1 isoforms, which we have observed during development, may have profound functional consequences.
This article was published in Mol Biol Cell
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism