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Blood. 2001 Dec 15;98(13):3677-84.

Identification of CD146 as a component of the endothelial junction involved in the control of cell-cell cohesion.

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INSERM EMI 0019, Physiopathologie de l'Endothélium, Université de la Méditerranée, UFR Pharmacie, Marseille, France.


CD146 is a cell-surface molecule belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily and expressed in all types of human endothelial cells. Confocal and electron microscopic analysis of confluent human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were used to demonstrate that CD146 is a component of the endothelial junction. Double immunolabeling with vascular endothelial cadherin showed that CD146 is localized outside the adherens junction. Moreover, CD146 expression is not restricted to the junction, since part of the labeling was detectable at the apical side of the HUVECs. Interestingly, cell-surface expression of CD146 increased when HUVECs reached confluence. In addition, the paracellular permeability of CD146-transfected fibroblast cells was decreased compared with that of control cells. Finally, CD146 colocalized with actin, was partly resistant to Triton X-100 extraction, and had its expression altered by actin-disrupting agents, indicating that CD146 is associated with the actin cytoskeleton. These results show the regulated expression of CD146 at areas of cell-cell junction and strongly suggest involvement of CD146 as a mediator of cell-cell interaction.

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