Background: In polarized epithelial cells, cell-cell adhesion forms specialized membrane structures comprised of claudin-based tight junctions (TJs) and of E-cadherin-based adherens junctions (AJs). These structures are aligned from the apical to the basal side of the lateral membrane, but the mechanism of this organization remains unknown. Nectin is a Ca2+ independent immunoglobulin-like cell-cell adhesion molecule which localizes at AJs. Nectin is associated with E-cadherin through their respective cytoplasmic tail-binding proteins, afadin and catenins, and involved in the formation of AJs in cooperation with E-cadherin. We show here that nectin is also involved in the formation of TJs. Results: During the formation of the junctional complex consisting of AJs and TJs in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, claudin and occludin accumulated at the apical sites of the nectin-based cell-cell adhesion sites.This accumulation of claudin and occludin was inhibited by inhibitors acting on the trans interaction of nectin. The barrier function of TJs was also impaired by the nectin inhibitors. It has been shown that a phorbol ester promotes the formation of a TJ-like structure in an E-cadherin-independent manner. This phorbol ester-induced formation of the TJ-like structure was also inhibited by the nectin inhibitors. Conclusions: These results suggest a role of the nectin-afadin system in the organization of TJs as well as AJs in epithelial cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology