Cadherins are a family of cell adhesion molecules that exhibit calcium-dependent, homophilic binding. Their function depends on both an HisAlaVal sequence in the first extracellular domain, EC1, and the interaction of a conserved cytoplasmic region with intracellular proteins. T-cadherin is an unusual member of the cadherin family that lacks the HisAlaVal motif and is anchored to the membrane through a glycosyl phosphatidylinositol moiety (Ranscht, B., and M. T. Dours-Zimmermann. 1991. Neuron. 7:391-402). To assay the function of T-cadherin in cell adhesion, we have transfected T-cadherin cDNA into CHO cells. Two proteins, mature T-cadherin and the uncleaved T-cadherin precursor, were produced from T-cadherin cDNA. The T-cadherin proteins differed from classical cadherins in several aspects. First, the uncleaved T-cadherin precursor was expressed, together with mature T-cadherin, on the surface of the transfected cells. Second, in the absence of calcium, T-cadherin was more resistant to proteolytic cleavage than other cadherins. Lastly, in contrast to classical cadherins, T-cadherin was not concentrated into cell-cell contacts between transfected cells in monolayer cultures. In cellular aggregation assays, T-cadherin induced calcium-dependent, homophilic adhesion which was abolished by treatment of T-cadherin-transfected cells with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C. These results demonstrate that T-cadherin is a functional cadherin that differs in several properties from classical cadherins. The function of T-cadherin in homophilic cell recognition implies that the mechanism of T-cadherin-induced adhesion is distinct from that of classical cadherins.
- Vestal, Deborah J
- Ranscht, B
- JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY Journal
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