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J Cell Biol. 1996 Aug;134(3):801-13.

Regulated binding of PTP1B-like phosphatase to N-cadherin: control of cadherin-mediated adhesion by dephosphorylation of beta-catenin.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.


Cadherins are a family of cell-cell adhesion molecules which play a central role in controlling morphogenetic movements during development. Cadherin function is regulated by its association with the actin containing cytoskeleton, an association mediated by a complex of cytoplasmic proteins, the catenins: alpha, beta, and gamma. Phosphorylated tyrosine residues on beta-catenin are correlated with loss of cadherin function. Consistent with this, we find that only nontyrosine phosphorylated beta-catenin is associated with N-cadherin in E10 chick retina tissue. Moreover, we demonstrate that a PTP1B-like tyrosine phosphatase associates with N-cadherin and may function as a regulatory switch controlling cadherin function by dephosphorylating beta-catenin, thereby maintaining cells in an adhesion-competent state. The PTP1B-like phosphatase is itself tyrosine phosphorylated. Moreover, both direct binding experiments performed with phosphorylated and dephosphorylated molecules, and treatment of cells with tyrosine kinase inhibitors indicate that the interaction of the PTP1B-like phosphatase with N-cadherin depends on its tyrosine phosphorylation. Concomitant with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor-induced loss of the PTP1B-like phosphatase from its association with N-cadherin, phosphorylated tyrosine residues are retained on beta-catenin, the association of N-cadherin with the actin containing cytoskeleton is lost and N-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion is prevented. Tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors also result in the accumulation of phosphorylated tyrosine residues on beta-catenin, loss of the association of N-cadherin with the actin-containing cytoskeleton, and prevent N-cadherin mediated adhesion, presumably by directly blocking the function of the PTP1B-like phosphatase. We previously showed that the binding of two ligands to the cell surface N-acetylgalactosaminylphosphotransferase (GalNAcPTase), the monoclonal antibody 1B11 and a proteoglycan with a 250-kD core protein, results in the accumulation of phosphorylated tyrosine residues on beta-catenin, uncoupling of N-cadherin from its association with the actin containing cytoskeleton, and loss of N-cadherin function. We now report that binding of these ligands to the GalNAcPTase results in the absence of the PTP1B-like phosphatase from its association with N-cadherin as well as the loss of the tyrosine kinase and tyrosine phosphatase activities that otherwise co-precipitate with N-cadherin. Control antibodies and proteoglycans have no such effect. This effect is similar to that observed with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, suggesting that the GalNAcPTase/proteoglycan interaction inhibits a tyrosine kinase, thereby preventing the phosphorylation of the PTP1B-like phosphatase, and its association with N-cadherin. Taken together these data indicate that a PTP1B-like tyrosine phosphatase can regulate N-cadherin function through its ability to dephosphorylate beta-catenin and that the association of the phosphatase with N-cadherin is regulated via the interaction of the GalNAcPTase with its proteoglycan ligand. In this manner the GalNAcPTase-proteoglycan interaction may play a major role in morphogenetic cell and tissue interactions during development.

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