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EMBO J. 2004 Apr 21;23(8):1739-48. Epub 2004 Apr 1.

E-cadherin-mediated adhesion inhibits ligand-dependent activation of diverse receptor tyrosine kinases.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


E-cadherin is an essential adhesion protein as well as a tumor suppressor that is silenced in many cancers. Its adhesion-dependent regulation of signaling has not been elucidated. We report that E-cadherin can negatively regulate, in an adhesion-dependent manner, the ligand-dependent activation of divergent classes of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), by inhibiting their ligand-dependent activation in association with decreases in receptor mobility and in ligand-binding affinity. E-cadherin did not regulate a constitutively active mutant RTK (Neu*) or the ligand-dependent activation of LPA receptors or muscarinic receptors, which are two classes of G protein-coupled receptors. EGFR regulation by E-cadherin was associated with complex formation between EGFR and E-cadherin that depended on the extracellular domain of E-cadherin but was independent of beta-catenin binding or p120-catenin binding. Transfection of E-cadherin conferred negative RTK regulation to human melanoma and breast cancer lines with downregulated endogenous E-cadherin. Abrogation of E-cadherin regulation may contribute to the frequent ligand-dependent activation of RTK in tumors.

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