Vinculin is associated with the E-cadherin adhesion complex

Rachel B. Hazan, Lan Kang, Susanna Roe, Patrick I. Borgen, David L. Rimm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Cadherins mediate calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion, and this activity is regulated by cytoplasmic interactions between cadherins, catenins, and the actin-based cytoskeleton. α-Catenin plays a critical role in the transmembrane anchorage of cadherins, and deletion of α-catenin has been shown to inactivate cadherin-mediated adhesion, resulting in a nonadhesive phenotype. Here we show that serum starvation increases E- cadherin expression and induces E-cadherin-dependent adhesion in the MDA-MB- 468 breast cancer cell line. This adhesion occurred despite a lack of α- catenin expression, which was caused by mutations in the α-catenin gone. Coprecipitation analysis suggests that this adhesion may be mediated by cytoplasmic connections from cadherins to the cytoskeleton involving vinculin. A high level of vinculin associated with E-cadherin immunoprecipitates was observed in MDA-MB-468 cells. In contrast, vinculin was not detected in E-cadherin complexes in the A431 and MCF-7 epithelial carcinoma cell lines, which express α-catenin. However, in reciprocal immunoprecipitations using anti-vinculin antibodies, E-cadherin associated strongly with vinculin in MDA-MB-468 cells and, to a lesser extent, in A431 and MCF-7 cells. These results suggest that both α-catenin and vinculin may be present in the adhesion complex. To test the hypothesis that vinculin associates with E-cadherin complexes via β-catenin, excess recombinant β- catenin or α-catenin fusion protein was added to MDA-MB-468 cell lysates. Both specifically inhibited the coprecipitation of E-cadherin with vinculin, suggesting competition for the same binding site. These results suggest that vinculin plays a role in the establishment or regulation of the cadherin- based cell adhesion complex by direct interaction with β-catenin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32448-32453
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 19 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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