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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Jun;41(7):1945-52.

High levels of E-/P-cadherin: correlation with decreased apical polarity of Na/K ATPase in bovine RPE cells in situ.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA.



The adherens junction protein E-cadherin induces a basolateral polarity of Na/K ATPase in most epithelial cells that express it, whereas in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, Na/K ATPase is largely apical. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the distribution of Na/K ATPase differs in RPE cells in situ, that differ in levels of junctional E-cadherin.


Bovine RPE cells in situ were immunostained with an E-cadherin antibody (which has some cross-reactivity with the closely related epithelial cadherin P-cadherin), and RPE cells with different levels of junctional stain were identified. RPE cells with low and high E-/P-cadherin were costained in various combinations with Na/K ATPase and interacting proteins of the membrane cytoskeleton (ankyrin, fodrin, and actin) and analyzed by confocal imaging.


Individual RPE cells within the same monolayer differed in amount of Na/K ATPase, with a lower frequency of high expressing cells in the area centralis. High expressing Na/K ATPase cells were found among cells with both low and high E-/P-cadherin levels. In cells with low E/P-cadherin, Na/K ATPase localized to apical microvilli, whereas in high E-/P-cadherin cells, Na/K ATPase was on basolateral surfaces in addition to microvilli. Actin staining showed that microvillar domains were smaller and that lateral membrane domains were taller in high E-/P-cadherin cells. In high but not low E-/P-cadherin cells, ankyrin and fodrin levels varied among cells, with a subset of cells showing distinctly higher expression. Both ankyrin and fodrin had complex subcellular distribution patterns, although they tended to be enriched basal to rather than apical to the adherens junction. Cells with high Na/K ATPase did not necessarily have commensurately higher levels of ankyrin or fodrin. Where both Na/K ATPase and ankyrin were high, they codistributed weakly in apical microvilli but more prominently on the basal cell surface.


Within the same RPE monolayer, the polarity of Na/K ATPase differs among cells, with a more basal polarity found in cells with high levels of junctional E-/P-cadherin. The increased basal Na/K ATPase was due to a combination of a smaller microvillar domain, a taller lateral domain, and more basolateral staining for Na/K ATPase, perhaps because of an enrichment of a basal ankyrinfodrin membrane cytoskeleton with which Na/K ATPase is known to associate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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