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Yong-Ha Youn, Jeehee Hong, Janice M. Burke; Cell Phenotype in Normal Epithelial Cell Lines with High Endogenous N-Cadherin: Comparison of RPE to an MDCK Subclone. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(6):2675-2685. doi: 10.1167/iovs.05-1335.
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purpose. Unlike most monolayer epithelial cells, cultured RPE are competent to form a zonular adhesion of N- rather than E-cadherin. To determine whether other normal epithelial cells do likewise, cells with high endogenous N-cadherin were cloned from the typically E-cadherin dominant epithelial line Madin-Darby canine kidney cells (MDCK) to analyze cell and junction phenotype in the presence of N-cadherin.
methods. A MDCK subclonal line, clone-YH, was selected for high endogenous N-cadherin and was compared with the RPE line hTERT-RPE1 with regard to cell phenotype, cadherin gene expression and cadherin protein distribution, glycosylation state, and catenin complex composition.
results. In early cultures, hTERT-RPE1 cells are moderately epithelioid with junctional N-cadherin, but clone-YH cells are initially highly fusiform with N-cadherin in multiple sites. With time, N-cadherin in clone-YH becomes deglycosylated, resistant to detergent extraction, and zonular, and cells become epithelioid. Treatment with the N-glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin induces an epithelioid phenotype in clone-YH, like time in culture but disrupts the hTERT-RPE1 phenotype. N-cadherin traffics to surface membranes and complexes with catenins regardless of cell type or glycosylation state, although catenin complex composition varied, showing enriched α-catenin under the cell-type-specific conditions in which N-cadherin was junctional. Clone-YH continued to express E-cadherin as a very minor cadherin, which trafficked to membranes but did not accumulate at junctions.
conclusions. RPE cells are not unique in localizing N-cadherin to a zonular adhesion typical of a monolayer epithelium, because even epithelial cells derived from a typically E-cadherin dominant line (clone-YH) form a zonular N-cadherin junction if the protein is abundant. However, there are cell and cadherin differences in mechanisms of cadherin accumulation in a zonular pattern, and a previously unrecognized cell-type-specific role for protein glycosylation in epithelial phenotype development.
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