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Cell Commun Adhes. 2012 Feb;19(1):11-6. doi: 10.3109/15419061.2012.665969. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

γ-Secretase-dependent cleavage of E-cadherin by staurosporine in breast cancer cells.

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  • 1Division of Brain Diseases, Center for Biomedical Sciences, Korea National Institute of Health, 187 Osongsaengmyeong2(i)-ro, Gangoe-myeon, Cheongwon-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea.


E-cadherin is a transmembrane protein that serves as a cell adhesion molecule component of the adherens junction. We previously showed that cadmium induced γ-secretase-dependent E-cadherin cleavage via oxidative stress. In this study, we report that staurosporine (STS)-induced apoptosis induces caspase-2 and/or -8-dependent E-cadherin cleavage. STS increased γ-secretase-dependent cleavage of E-cadherin in breast cancer cells through caspase activation. The ability of the γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT and the caspase inhibitor zVAD-FMK to block E-cadherin cleavage provided support for these results. The cleavage of E-cadherin was blocked by caspase-2 and -8 inhibitors. Immunofluorescence analysis confirmed that, along with the disappearance of E-cadherin staining at the cell surface, the E-cadherin cytoplasmic domain accumulated in the cytosol. In the presence of an inhibitor of γ-secretase or caspase, the cleavage of E-cadherin was partially blocked. Our findings suggest that activation of caspase-2/-8 stimulated the disruption of cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts in apoptotic cells via γ-secretase activation.

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