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PLoS One. January 1, 2012; 7 (6): e38756.

Regulation of classical cadherin membrane expression and F-actin assembly by alpha-catenins, during Xenopus embryogenesis.

Nandadasa S , Tao Q , Shoemaker A , Cha SW , Wylie C .

Alpha (α)-E-catenin is a component of the cadherin complex, and has long been thought to provide a link between cell surface cadherins and the actin skeleton. More recently, it has also been implicated in mechano-sensing, and in the control of tissue size. Here we use the early Xenopus embryos to explore functional differences between two α-catenin family members, α-E- and α-N-catenin, and their interactions with the different classical cadherins that appear as tissues of the embryo become segregated from each other. We show that they play both cadherin-specific and context-specific roles in the emerging tissues of the embryo. α-E-catenin interacts with both C- and E-cadherin. It is specifically required for junctional localization of C-cadherin, but not of E-cadherin or N-cadherin at the neurula stage. α-N-cadherin interacts only with, and is specifically required for junctional localization of, N-cadherin. In addition, α -E-catenin is essential for normal tissue size control in the non-neural ectoderm, but not in the neural ectoderm or the blastula. We also show context specificity in cadherin/ α-catenin interactions. E-cadherin requires α-E-catenin for junctional localization in some tissues, but not in others, during early development. These specific functional cadherin/alpha-catenin interactions may explain the basis of cadherin specificity of actin assembly and morphogenetic movements seen previously in the neural and non-neural ectoderm.

PubMed ID: 22719936
PMC ID: PMC3374811
Article link: PLoS One.
Grant support: NIH R01HD044764-07 NICHD NIH HHS , R01 HD044764 NICHD NIH HHS

Genes referenced: actl6a cdh1 cdh2 cdh3 ctnna1 ctnna2 myc
Morpholinos referenced: ctnna1 MO1 ctnna2 MO1

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