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Exp Cell Res. 2004 Oct 1;299(2):498-510.

Early enterocytic differentiation of HT-29 cells: biochemical changes and strength increases of adherens junctions.

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Laboratoire d'Etude de la Différenciation et de l'Adhérence Cellulaires, UMR UJF/CNRS 5538, Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, 38706 La Tronche Cedex, France.


We have characterized the modulation of cell-cell adhesion and the structure of adherens junctions in the human colon adenocarcinoma HT-29 cell line that differentiates into enterocytes after glucose substitution for galactose in the medium. We demonstrate that differentiated cells (HT-29 Gal) rapidly established E-cadherin-mediated interactions in aggregation assays. This effect is not due to an increase in E-cadherin expression during this early stage of cell differentiation, but rather results from the maturation of preexisting adherens junctions. These junctions are characterized by the redistribution of E-cadherin to the basolateral membrane and its co-localization with the actin cytoskeleton. Subcellular fractionation studies indicate that actin-associated E-cadherins bind beta-catenin and p120ctn. Furthermore, the p120ctn/E-cadherin association is upregulated. These data reveal a cooperative interaction between p120ctn and E-cadherin that corresponds to mature functional adherens junctions able to initiate tight cell-cell adhesion required for epithelium architecture and further affirm the gatekeeper role of p120ctn.

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