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Oncogene. 2006 Aug 3;25(33):4595-604. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Expression of inappropriate cadherins by epithelial tumor cells promotes endocytosis and degradation of E-cadherin via competition for p120(ctn).

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Department of Oral Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA.


Cadherin cell-cell adhesion proteins play an important role in modulating the behavior of tumor cells. E-cadherin serves as a suppressor of tumor cell invasion, and when tumor cells turn on the expression of a non-epithelial cadherin, they often express less E-cadherin, enhancing the tumorigenic phenotype of the cells. Here, we show that when A431 cells are forced to express R-cadherin, they dramatically downregulate the expression of endogenous E- and P-cadherin. In addition, we show that this downregulation is owing to increased turnover of the endogenous cadherins via clathrin-dependent endocytosis. p120(ctn) binds to the juxtamembrane domain of classical cadherins and has been proposed to regulate cadherin adhesive activity. One way p120(ctn) may accomplish this is to serve as a rheostat to regulate the levels of cadherin. Here, we show that the degradation of E-cadherin in response to expression of R-cadherin is owing to competition for p120(ctn).

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