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Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7):695-705. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.695

Research Paper

The presence of alpha-catenin in the VE-cadherin complex is required for efficient transendothelial migration of leukocytes

Jaap D. van Buul, Floris P. van Alphen, Peter L. Hordijk

Dept. Molecular Cell Biology, Sanquin Research, and Landsteiner Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The majority of the leukocytes cross the endothelial lining of the vessels through cell-cell junctions. The junctional protein Vascular Endothelial (VE)-cadherin is transiently re-distributed from sites of cell-cell contacts during passage of leukocytes. VE-cadherin is part of a protein complex comprising p120-catenin and beta-catenin as intracellular partners. Beta-catenin connects VE-cadherin to alpha-catenin. This VE-cadherin-catenin complex is believed to dynamically control endothelial cell-cell junctions and to regulate the passage of leukocytes, although not much is known about the role of alpha- and beta-catenin during the process of transendothelial migration (TEM). In order to study the importance of the interaction between alpha- and beta-catenin in TEM, we used a cell-permeable version of the peptide encoding the binding site of alpha-catenin for beta-catenin (S27D). The data show that S27D interferes with the interaction between alpha- and beta-catenin and induces a reversible decrease in electrical resistance of the endothelial monolayer. In addition, S27D co-localized with beta-catenin at cell-cell junctions. Surprisingly, transmigration of neutrophils across endothelial monolayers was blocked in the presence of S27D. In conclusion, our results show for the first time that the association of alpha-catenin with the cadherin-catenin complex is required for efficient leukocyte TEM.

Keywords: Transendothelial migration, VE-cadherin, catenin, cell-cell junction, permeability.

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How to cite this article:
van Buul JD, van Alphen FP, Hordijk PL. The presence of alpha-catenin in the VE-cadherin complex is required for efficient transendothelial migration of leukocytes. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7):695-705. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.695. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v05p0695.htm