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      Dynamics of adherens junctions in epithelial establishment, maintenance, and remodeling

      research-article
      1 , 2 ,
      The Journal of Cell Biology
      The Rockefeller University Press

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          Abstract

          The epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin)–catenin complex binds to cytoskeletal components and regulatory and signaling molecules to form a mature adherens junction (AJ). This dynamic structure physically connects neighboring epithelial cells, couples intercellular adhesive contacts to the cytoskeleton, and helps define each cell’s apical–basal axis. Together these activities coordinate the form, polarity, and function of all cells in an epithelium. Several molecules regulate AJ formation and integrity, including Rho family GTPases and Par polarity proteins. However, only recently, with the development of live-cell imaging, has the extent to which E-cadherin is actively turned over at junctions begun to be appreciated. This turnover contributes to junction formation and to the maintenance of epithelial integrity during tissue homeostasis and remodeling.

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          Most cited references104

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          Regulation of cadherin-mediated adhesion in morphogenesis.

          Cadherin cell-adhesion proteins mediate many facets of tissue morphogenesis. The dynamic regulation of cadherins in response to various extracellular signals controls cell sorting, cell rearrangements and cell movements. Cadherins are regulated at the cell surface by an inside-out signalling mechanism that is analogous to the integrins in platelets and leukocytes. Signal-transduction pathways impinge on the catenins (cytoplasmic cadherin-associated proteins), which transduce changes across the membrane to alter the state of the cadherin adhesive bond.
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            The small GTP-binding protein rac regulates growth factor-induced membrane ruffling.

            The function of rac, a ras-related GTP-binding protein, was investigated in fibroblasts by microinjection. In confluent serum-starved Swiss 3T3 cells, rac1 rapidly stimulated actin filament accumulation at the plasma membrane, forming membrane ruffles. Several growth factors and activated H-ras also induced membrane ruffling, and this response was prevented by a dominant inhibitory mutant rac protein, N17rac1. This suggests that endogenous rac proteins are required for growth factor-induced membrane ruffling. In addition to membrane ruffling, a later response to both rac1 microinjection and some growth factors was the formation of actin stress fibers, a process requiring endogenous rho proteins. Using N17rac1 we have shown that these growth factors act through rac to stimulate this rho-dependent response. We propose that rac and rho are essential components of signal transduction pathways linking growth factors to the organization of polymerized actin.
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              alpha-Catenin as a tension transducer that induces adherens junction development.

              Adherens junctions (AJs), which are organized by adhesion proteins and the underlying actin cytoskeleton, probably sense pulling forces from adjacent cells and modulate opposing forces to maintain tissue integrity, but the regulatory mechanism remains unknown at the molecular level. Although the possibility that alpha-catenin acts as a direct linker between the membrane and the actin cytoskeleton for AJ formation and function has been minimized, here we show that alpha-catenin recruits vinculin, another main actin-binding protein of AJs, through force-dependent changes in alpha-catenin conformation. We identified regions in the alpha-catenin molecule that are required for its force-dependent binding of vinculin by introducing mutant alpha-catenin into cells and using in vitro binding assays. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis for alpha-catenin mobility and the existence of an antibody recognizing alpha-catenin in a force-dependent manner further supported the notion that alpha-catenin is a tension transducer that translates mechanical stimuli into a chemical response, resulting in AJ development.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                J. Cell Biol
                jcb
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                21 March 2011
                : 192
                : 6
                : 907-917
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, England, UK
                [2 ]School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, England, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence to Marios Georgiou: marios.georgiou@ 123456nottingham.ac.uk
                Article
                201009141
                10.1083/jcb.201009141
                3063136
                21422226
                62105f67-ee21-4dd9-b255-a50989bbf242
                © 2011 Baum and Georgiou

                This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).

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