Joana Figueiredo

University of Porto, Porto, Distrito do Porto, Portugal

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Publications (21)105.24 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: E-cadherin (Ecad) is a well-known invasion suppressor and its loss of expression is common in invasive carcinomas. Germline Ecad mutations are the only known genetic cause of Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC), demonstrating the causative role of Ecad impairment in gastric cancer. HDGC-associated Ecad missense mutations can lead to folding defects and premature proteasome-dependent Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation (ERAD), but the molecular determinants for this fate were unidentified. Using a Drosophila-based genetic screen, we found that Drosophila DnaJ-1 interacts with WT (Wild Type) and mutant human Ecad in vivo. DNAJB4, the human homolog of DnaJ-1, influences Ecad localization and stability even in the absence of Ecad endogenous promoter, suggesting a post-transcriptional level of regulation. Increased expression of DNAJB4 leads to stabilization of WT Ecad in the plasma membrane, while it induces premature degradation of unfolded HDGC mutants in the proteasome. The interaction between DNAJB4 and Ecad is direct, and is increased in the context of the unfolded mutant E757 K, especially when proteasome degradation is inhibited, suggesting that DNAJB4 is a molecular mediator of ERAD. Post-translational regulation of native Ecad by DNAJB4 molecular chaperone is sufficient to influence cell adhesion in vitro. Using a chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay with gastric cancer derived cells, we demonstrate that DNAJB4 stimulates the anti-invasive function of WT Ecad in vivo. Additionally, the expression of DNAJB4 and Ecad is concomitantly decreased in human gastric carcinomas. Altogether, we demonstrate that DNAJB4 is a sensor of Ecad structural features that might contribute to gastric cancer progression.
    Human Molecular Genetics 11/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) plays a key role in epithelial cell-cell adhesion, contributing to tissue differentiation and homeostasis. Throughout the past decades, research has shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying E-cadherin's role in tumor progression, namely in invasion and metastization. Emerging evidence established E-cadherin as a tumor suppressor and suggests that targeting E-cadherin or downstream signaling molecules may constitute effective cancer therapeutics. Areas covered: This review aims to cover E-cadherin-mediated signaling during cancer development and progression and highlight putative therapeutic targets. Expert opinion: Reconstitution of E-cadherin expression or targeting of E-cadherin downstream molecules holds promise in cancer therapies. Considering the high frequency of CDH1 promoter hypermethylation as a second hit in malignant lesions from hereditary diffuse gastric cancer patients, histone deacetylase inhibitors are potential therapeutic agents in combination with conventional chemotherapy, specifically in initial tumor stages. Concerning E-cadherin-mediated signaling, we propose that HER receptors (as epidermal growth factor receptor) and Notch downstream targets are clinically relevant and should be considered in gastric cancer therapeutics and control.
    Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets 08/2013; · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The only gastric cancer (GC) syndrome with a proven inherited defect is designated as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) and is caused by germline E-cadherin/CDH1 alterations. Other E-cadherin-associated hereditary disorders have been identified, encompassing HDGC families with or without cleft-lip/palate involvement, isolated early-onset diffuse GCs, and lobular breast cancer families without GC. To date, 141 probands harboring more than 100 different germline CDH1 alterations, mainly point mutations and large deletions, have been described in these different settings. A third of all HDGC families described so far carry recurrent CDH1 alterations. Full screening of CDH1 is recommended in patients fulfilling the HDGC criteria and total prophylactic gastrectomy is the only reliable intervention for carriers of pathogenic alterations. In this chapter, we discuss CDH1-associated syndromes, frequency and type of CDH1 germline alterations, clinical criteria, and guidelines for genetic counseling, molecular pathology, and available animal/cell line models of the disease.
    Progress in molecular biology and translational science 01/2013; 116C:337-359. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Serine protease inhibitors (SERPINs) are a superfamily of highly conserved proteins that play a key role in controlling the activity of proteases in diverse biological processes. The SERPIN cluster located at the 14q32.1 region includes the gene coding for SERPINA1, and a highly homologous sequence, SERPINA2, which was originally thought to be a pseudogene. We have previously shown that SERPINA2 is expressed in different tissues, namely leukocytes and testes, suggesting that it is a functional SERPIN. To investigate the function of SERPINA2, we used HeLa cells stably transduced with the different variants of SERPINA2 and SERPINA1 (M1, S and Z) and leukocytes as the in vivo model. We identified SERPINA2 as a 52 kDa intracellular glycoprotein, which is localized at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), independently of the variant analyzed. SERPINA2 is not significantly regulated by proteasome, proposing that ER localization is not due to misfolding. Specific features of SERPINA2 include the absence of insoluble aggregates and the insignificant response to cell stress, suggesting that it is a non-polymerogenic protein with divergent activity of SERPINA1. Using phylogenetic analysis, we propose an origin of SERPINA2 in the crown of primates, and we unveiled the overall conservation of SERPINA2 and A1. Nonetheless, few SERPINA2 residues seem to have evolved faster, contributing to the emergence of a new advantageous function, possibly as a chymotrypsin-like SERPIN. Herein, we present evidences that SERPINA2 is an active gene, coding for an ER-resident protein, which may act as substrate or adjuvant of ER-chaperones.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e66889. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Orofacial clefts (OFC) are among the most common birth defects worldwide. The etiology of non-syndromic OFC is still largely unknown. During embryonic development, the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin, encoded by CDH1, is highly expressed in the median edge epithelium of the palate. Further, in multiple families with CDH1 mutations, OFC cases are observed. In order to determine whether CDH1 is a causative gene for non-syndromic OFC and to assess whether CDH1 mutation screening in non-syndromic OFC patients enables identification of families at risk of cancer, direct sequencing of the full coding sequence of CDH1 was performed in a cohort of 81 children with non-syndromic OFC. Eleven children had heterozygous CDH1 sequence variants, 5 cases with 4 distinct missense mutations and 8 cases with 4 intronic variants. Using a combination of in silico predictions and in vitro functional assays, three missense mutations in 4 non-syndromic OFC patients were predicted to be damaging to E-cadherin protein function. The intronic variants including one tested in an in vitro assay appeared to be benign, showing no influence on splicing. Functionally relevant heterozygous CDH1 missense mutations were found in 4 out of 81 (5%) patients with non-syndromic OFC. This finding opens a new pathway to reveal the molecular basis of non-syndromic OFC. Cancer risk among carriers of these mutations needs to be defined.
    Human Molecular Genetics 11/2012; · 7.69 Impact Factor
  • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2012; · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: E-cadherin is a cell-cell adhesion molecule and the dysfunction of which is a common feature of more than 70% of all invasive carcinomas, including gastric cancer. Mechanisms behind the loss of E-cadherin function in gastric carcinomas include mutations and silencing at either the DNA or RNA level. Nevertheless, in a high percentage of gastric carcinoma cases displaying E-cadherin dysfunction, the mechanism responsible for E-cadherin dysregulation is unknown. We have previously demonstrated the existence of a bi-directional cross-talk between E-cadherin and two major N-glycan processing enzymes, N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase-III or -V (GnT-III or GnT-V). METHODS: In the present study, we have characterized the functional implications of the N-glycans catalyzed by GnT-III and GnT-V on the regulation of E-cadherin biological functions and in the molecular assembly and stability of adherens-junctions in a gastric cancer model. The results were validated in human gastric carcinoma samples. RESULTS: We demonstrated that GnT-III induced a stabilizing effect on E-cadherin at the cell membrane by inducing a delay in the turnover rate of the protein, contributing for the formation of stable and functional adherens-junctions, and further preventing clathrin-dependent E-cadherin endocytosis. Conversely, GnT-V promotes the destabilization of E-cadherin, leading to its mislocalization and unstable adherens-junctions with impairment of cell-cell adhesion. CONCLUSIONS: This supports the role of GnT-III on E-cadherin-mediated tumor suppression, and GnT-V on E-cadherin-mediated tumor invasion. GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: These results contribute to fill the gap of knowledge of those human carcinoma cases harboring E-cadherin dysfunction, opening new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying E-cadherin regulation in gastric cancer with potential translational clinical applications.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2012; · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC), CDH1 germline gene alterations are causative events in 30% of the cases. In 20% of HDGC families, CDH1 germline mutations are of the missense type and the mutation carriers constitute a problem in terms of genetic counseling and surveillance. To access the pathogenic relevance of missense mutations, we have previously developed an in vitro method to functionally characterize them. Pathogenic E-cadherin missense mutants fail to aggregate and become more invasive, in comparison with cells expressing the wild-type (WT) protein. Herein, our aim was to develop a complementary method to unravel the pathogenic significance of E-cadherin missense mutations. We used cells stably expressing WT E-cadherin and seven HDGC-associated mutations (five intracellular and two extracellular) and studied by proximity ligation assays (PLA) how these mutants bind to fundamental regulators of E-cadherin function and trafficking. We focused our attention on the interaction with: p120, β-catenin, PIPKIγ and Hakai. We showed that cytoplasmic E-cadherin mutations affect the interaction of one or more binding partners, compromising the E-cadherin stability at the plasma membrane and likely affecting the adhesion complex competence. In the present work, we demonstrated that the study of the interplay between E-cadherin and its binding partners, using PLA, is an easy, rapid, quantitative and highly reproducible technique that can be applied in routine labs to verify the pathogenicity of E-cadherin missense mutants for HDGC diagnosis, especially those located in the intracellular domain of the protein.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 1 August 2012; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.159.
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 08/2012; · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: E-cadherin plays a major role in cell-cell adhesion and inactivating germline mutations in its encoding gene predispose to hereditary diffuse gastric cancer. Evidence indicates that aside from its recognized role in early tumourigenesis, E-cadherin is also pivotal for tumour progression, including invasion and metastization. Herein, we discuss E-cadherin alterations found in a cancer context, associated cellular effects and signalling pathways, and we raise new key questions that will impact in the management of GC patients and families.
    FEBS letters 07/2012; 586(18):2981-9. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: E-cadherin and P-cadherin are major contributors to cell-cell adhesion in epithelial tissues, playing pivotal roles in important morphogenetic and differentiation processes during development, and in maintaining integrity and homeostasis in adult tissues. It is now generally accepted that alterations in these two molecules are observed during tumour progression of most carcinomas. Genetic or epigenetic alterations in E- and P-cadherin-encoding genes (CDH1 and CDH3, respectively), or alterations in their proteins expression, often result in tissue disorder, cellular de-differentiation, increased invasiveness of tumour cells and ultimately in metastasis. In this review, we will discuss the major properties of E- and P-cadherin molecules, its regulation in normal tissue, and their alterations and role in cancer, with a specific focus on gastric and breast cancer models.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 05/2012; 1826(12):297-311. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is well documented that germline mutations in the E-cadherin (CDH1) gene are linked to hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC). Despite the known molecular genetic causes, most gastric cancers are sporadic and poorly investigated for susceptibility genes. We report the finding of a novel germline missense mutation in exon 6, c. 820 G > A (p.G274S) in one sporadic gastric cancer patient. This new variant does not affect cryptic splicing of CDH1 as demonstrated by molecular assay. Immunohistochemical analysis shows a mixed pattern of E-cadherin staining (membranous and cytoplasmic) in the intestinal component, while in the diffuse counterpart, the membranous staining was prevalent and a reduced membranous expression of ß-catenin was observed. In vitro assays suggest that the mutant G274S does not affect the E-cadherin protein function, its expression pattern or subcellular localization. This new variant is present in EC2 extracellular domain of the protein (p.G120S in mature protein). The molecular modelling shows that this point mutation is not dramatic for local structure. However, p.S120 is located on the surface of the protein close to the functional calcium sites and in the region of interaction with EC1 domain of another E-cadherin molecule involved in the formation of the intercellular junction. Moreover, p.S120 residue could be involved in posttranslational modifications, such as phosphorylation or glycosylation, with possible effects on stability and integrity of adhesive properties of E-cadherin. In conclusion, the pathogenicity of this mutation is unlikely; nevertheless, it is possible that the mutation hampers the interaction with other proteins, and consequent signalling pathways, contributing to tumour development.
    Clinical and Experimental Medicine 04/2012; · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: E-cadherin is critical for the maintenance of tissue architecture due to its role in cell-cell adhesion. E-cadherin mutations are the genetic cause of Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) and missense mutations represent a clinical burden, due to the uncertainty of their pathogenic role. In vitro and in vivo, most mutations lead to loss-of-function, although the causal factor is unknown for the majority. We hypothesized that destabilization could account for the pathogenicity of E-cadherin missense mutations in HDGC, and tested our hypothesis using in silico and in vitro tools. FoldX algorithm was used to calculate the impact of each mutation in E-cadherin native-state stability, and the analysis was complemented with evolutionary conservation, by SIFT. Interestingly, HDGC patients harbouring germline E-cadherin destabilizing mutants present a younger age at diagnosis or death, suggesting that the loss of native-state stability of E-cadherin accounts for the disease phenotype. To elucidate the biological relevance of E-cadherin destabilization in HDGC, we investigated a group of newly identified HDGC-associated mutations (E185V, S232C and L583R), of which L583R is predicted to be destabilizing. We show that this mutation is not functional in vitro, exhibits shorter half-life and is unable to mature, due to premature proteasome-dependent degradation, a phenotype reverted by stabilization with the artificial mutation L583I (structurally tolerated). Herein we report E-cadherin structural models suitable to predict the impact of the majority of cancer-associated missense mutations and we show that E-cadherin destabilization leads to loss-of-function in vitro and increased pathogenicity in vivo.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e33783. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CDH1 mutation carriers have a strongly increased risk of developing gastric cancer (GC) and lobular breast cancer (LBC). Clinical data of GC cases and surgical and histological data of prophylactic gastrectomies and mastectomies of all 10 Dutch CDH1 mutation families were collected. In vitro functional assays were performed to analyze the nature of the newly found missense mutation c.1748T>G (p.Leu583Arg). Ten different CDH1 mutations were found. Functional assays gave strong arguments for the pathogenic nature of the p.Leu583Arg mutation. The pedigrees comprised 36 GC cases (mean age 40 years, range 20-72 years) and one LBC case. Twenty-nine/37 carriers alive, aged 18-61 years, underwent prophylactic gastrectomy. Invasive GC-foci and premalignant abnormalities were detected in 2 and 25 patients, respectively. In four patients GC/signetring cell (SRC) foci were diagnosed at preoperative gastroscopy. Long-standing presence of SRCs without progression to invasive carcinoma was shown in two others. Multifocal LBC/LCIS was found in the two prophylactic mastectomy specimens. Clefts of lip and/or palate (CL/P) were reported in seven individuals from three families. The age at onset and aggressiveness of GC is highly variable, which has to be included in counseling on planning prophylactic gastrectomies. The incidence of LBC is expected to increase and prophylactic mastectomy needs to be considered. The relationship between CL/P and CDH1 needs further study to inform future parents from hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) families adequately.
    International Journal of Cancer 08/2011; 131(2):367-76. · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: E-cadherin plays a powerful tumor suppressor role. Germline E-cadherin mutations justify 30% of Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) and missense mutations are found in 30% of these families. We found possible to restore in vitro mutant E-cadherin associated to HDGC syndrome by using Chemical Chaperones (CCs). Herein, our aim was to disclose the molecular mechanisms underlying the CCs effects in E-cadherin regulation. Using cells stably expressing WT E-cadherin or two HDGC-associated missense mutations, we show that upon DMSO treatment, not only mutant E-cadherin is restored and stabilized at the plasma membrane (PM), but also Arf6 and PIPKIγ expressions are altered. We show that modulation of Arf6 expression partially mimics the effect of CCs, suggesting that the cellular effects observed upon CCs treatment are mediated by Arf6. Further, we show that E-cadherin expression recovery is specifically linked to Arf6 due to its role on endocytosis and recycling pathways. Finally, we demonstrated that, as DMSO, several others CCs are able to modulate the trafficking machinery through an Arf6 dependent mechanism. Interestingly, the more effective compounds in E-cadherin recovery to PM are those that simultaneously inhibit Arf6 and stimulate PIPKIγ expression and binding to E-cadherin. Here, we present the first evidence of a direct influence of CCs in cellular trafficking machinery and we show that this effect is of crucial importance in the context of juxtamembrane E-cadherin missense mutations associated to HDGC. We propose that this influence should be taken into account when exploring the therapeutic potential of this type of chemicals in genetic diseases associated to protein-misfolding.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(8):e23188. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has long been recognized that E-cadherin dysfunction is a major cause of epithelial cell invasion. However, very little is known about the post-transcriptional modifications of E-cadherin and its role in E-cadherin mediated tumor progression. N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase III (GnT-III) catalyzes the formation of a bisecting GlcNAc structure in N-glycans, and has been pointed as a metastasis suppressor. N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GnT-V) catalyzes the addition of beta1,6 GlcNAc branching of N-glycans, and has been associated to increase metastasis. The regulatory mechanism between E-cadherin expression and the remodeling of its oligosaccharides structures by GnT-III and GnT-V were explored in this study. We have demonstrated that wild-type E-cadherin regulates MGAT3 gene transcription resulting in increased GnT-III expression. We also showed that GnT-III and GnT-V competitively modified E-cadherin N-glycans. The GnT-III knockdown cells revealed a membrane de-localization of E-cadherin leading to its cytoplasmic accumulation. Further, the GnT-III knockdown cells also caused modifications of E-cadherin N-glycans catalyzed by GnT-III and GnT-V. Altogether our results have clarified the existence of a bidirectional crosstalk between E-cadherin and GnT-III/GnT-V that was, for the first time, reproduced in an in vivo model. This study opens new insights into the post-transcriptional modifications of E-cadherin in its biological function, in a tumor context.
    Human Molecular Genetics 05/2009; 18(14):2599-608. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: E-cadherin has a determinant role in tumour progression, acting as an invasion and metastasis suppressor. Germline mutations of E-cadherin gene (CDH1) occur in 30% of families with Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC); of these 23% are missense mutations. The CDH1 missense mutations described to date span the entire gene and some lead to significant functional consequences. In this study, we explored the hypothesis that mutations affecting different E-cadherin protein domains have distinct effects on cell motility. To accomplish our objective we characterized the effect of eleven HDGC CDH1 germline missense mutations (T118R, L214P, G239R, A298T, T340A, P373L, R749W, E757K, E781D, P799R and V832M) on cell motility. Further, we studied their effect on the activation of signalling pathways known to be relevant for cell motility such as the EGFR, Src kinase and MAPKs. CDH1 mutations localized on the extracellular and juxtamembrane domains, both affecting the integrity of the extracellular domain, led to increased cell motility accompanied by increased EGFR activation. Moreover, we observed that cells expressing extracellular mutants exhibit increased activation of Src kinase and p38 MAPK. Our results allowed the identification of the E-cadherin domains pivotal for cell motility, further demonstrated a genotype-phenotype correlation, and defined a subset of HDGC cases which may benefit from EGFR inhibitors.
    Experimental Cell Research 04/2009; 315(8):1393-402. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Thyroid carcinomas show a high prevalence of mutations in the oncogene BRAF which are inversely associated with RAS or RET/PTC oncogenic activation. The possibility of using inhibitors on the BRAF pathway as became an interesting therapeutic approach. In thyroid cancer cells the target molecules, implicated on the cellular effects, mediated by inhibition of BRAF are not well established. In order to fill this lack of knowledge we studied the proliferation and survival pathways and associated molecules induced by BRAF inhibition in thyroid carcinoma cell lines harbouring distinct genetic backgrounds. Suppression of BRAF pathway in thyroid cancer cell lines (8505C, TPC1 and C643) was achieved using RNA interference (RNAi) for BRAF and the kinase inhibitor, sorafenib. Proliferation analysis was performed by BrdU incorporation and apoptosis was accessed by TUNEL assay. Levels of protein expression were analysed by western-blot. Both BRAF RNAi and sorafenib inhibited proliferation in all the cell lines independently of the genetic background, mostly in cells with BRAF(V600E) mutation. In BRAF(V600E) mutated cells inhibition of BRAF pathway lead to a decrease in ERK1/2 phosphorylation and cyclin D1 levels and an increase in p27(Kip1). Specific inhibition of BRAF by RNAi in cells with BRAF(V600E) mutation had no effect on apoptosis. In the case of sorafenib treatment, cells harbouring BRAF(V600E) mutation showed increase levels of apoptosis due to a balance of the anti-apoptotic proteins Mcl-1 and Bcl-2. Our results in thyroid cancer cells, namely those harbouring BRAF(V600E) mutation showed that BRAF signalling pathway provides important proliferation signals. We have shown that in thyroid cancer cells sorafenib induces apoptosis by affecting Mcl-1 and Bcl-2 in BRAF(V600E) mutated cells which was independent of BRAF. These results suggest that sorafenib may prove useful in the treatment of thyroid carcinomas, particularly those refractory to conventional treatment and harbouring BRAF mutations.
    BMC Cancer 01/2009; 9:387. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: α-Catenin is essential in cadherin-mediated epithelium development and maintenance of tissues and in cancer progression and metastasis. However, recent studies question the conventional wisdom that α-catenin directly bridges the cadherin adhesion complex to the actin cytoskeleton. Therefore, whether α-catenin plays a direct role in cadherin-dependent cell adhesion is unknown. Here, single-molecule force spectroscopy measurements in cells depleted of α-catenin or expressing the hereditary diffuse gastric cancer associated V832M E-cadherin germ-line missense mutation show that α-catenin plays a critical role in cadherin-mediated intercellular recognition and subsequent multibond formation within the first 300 ms of cell contact. At short contact times, α-catenin mediates a 30% stronger interaction between apposing E-cadherin molecules than when it cannot bind the E-cadherin–β-catenin complex. As contact time between cells increases, α-catenin is essential for the strengthening of the first intercellular cadherin bond and for the ensuing formation of additional bonds between the cells, all without the intervention of actin. These results suggest that a critical decision to form an adhesion complex between 2 cells occurs within an extremely short time span and at a single-molecule level and identify a previously unappreciated role for α-catenin in these processes.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2008; 105(47):18331-18336. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: E-cadherin is critical for the maintenance of tissue architecture and is a major component of adherens junctions. Its role in tumour development is well established, with many human carcinomas exhibiting E-cadherin loss at the invasive front. In many invasive carcinomas, the mechanisms leading to the loss of E-cadherin remains elusive. Here, we hypothesize that mechanisms of protein quality control play a key role in E-cadherin regulation. As a cell model system, we used CHO cells stably expressing E-cadherin germline missense mutations R749W and E757K, which are associated with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer. An abnormal pattern of E-cadherin expression was observed, with protein accumulating mainly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We demonstrated that E-cadherin missense mutants are subjected to Endoplasmic Reticulum Quality Control (ERQC) and that their loss is due to ER-associated degradation. Treatment of these mutant cells with specific chemical chaperones restored E-cadherin to the cell membrane and rescued its function. We show that ERQC plays a major role in E-cadherin regulation and propose that overcoming this regulation may represent an approach to rescue E-cadherin expression and functionality in cancer.
    Human Molecular Genetics 10/2008; 17(22):3566-76. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BRAF kinase is a downstream target of KRAS and activates the MAPK pathway. These two molecules are prone to mutations in sporadic microsatellite unstable (MSI) colorectal carcinomas (CRC) and BRAF V600E mutations are inversely associated with oncogenic KRAS mutations. The biological significance of BRAF V600E oncogenic activation is not well established in this type of tumour. We aimed to study proliferation and survival effects induced by BRAF inhibition in MSI CRC cell lines harbouring distinct genetic backgrounds (BRAF V600E or KRAS G13D). Suppression of BRAF in BRAF V600E MSI CRC cell lines by RNA interference significantly inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis, as demonstrated by BrdU incorporation and TUNEL assay, respectively. No significant differences were seen in proliferation and apoptosis, in cell lines harbouring KRAS G13D, after BRAF inhibition. We further analysed proliferation-associated molecules (pERK1/2, cyclin D1, p27 Kip1) and apoptosis-associated molecules (Bcl-2, Bax, pAkt, pBad, XIAP) in all cell lines. After BRAF down-regulation, we found a more pronounced decrease in ERK1/2 phosphorylation and cyclin D1 expression levels in BRAF-mutated cell lines in comparison to KRAS mutated cells. Upon BRAF inhibition, we also found an increase in p27(Kip1) levels and a more pronounced decrease in the levels of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, specifically in cell lines with BRAF V600E. In conclusion, we have shown that MSI KRAS and BRAF mutant CRC cell lines respond differently to BRAF knockdown. This report provides evidence supporting BRAF as a good target for therapeutic intervention in patients with sporadic MSI CRC harbouring activating mutations in BRAF but not in KRAS.
    The Journal of Pathology 03/2008; 214(3):320-7. · 7.59 Impact Factor