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Interaction between the transforming growth factor-beta type II receptor/Smad pathway and beta-catenin during transforming growth factor-beta1-mediated adherens junction disassembly.

The aim of the current study was to examine the influence of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta 1 on proximal tubular epithelial cell-cell interaction, with particular emphasis on the regulation of adherens junction complex formation. Stimulation of the proximal tubular cell line HK-2 cells by TGF-beta 1 led to loss of cell-cell contact and disassembly of both adherens and tight junctional complexes. Adherens junction disassembly was associated with reduction of both Triton-soluble and Triton-insoluble E-cadherin, and an increase in detergent-soluble beta-catenin. Under these conditions, immunoprecipitation and Western analysis demonstrated decreased association of beta-catenin, both with E-cadherin, alpha-catenin, and the cell cytoskeleton. Confocal microscopy after immunostaining, showed decreased intensity of peripheral E-cadherin staining, and redistribution of beta-catenin expression to a perinuclear location. Tight junction disassembly was manifest by a reduction in the expression of Triton-soluble occludin and ZO-1 by Western analysis and their disassociation manifested by immunostaining and confocal microscopy. Loss of cell-cell contact and disassembly of adherens junctions were seen after addition of TGF-beta 1 to the basolateral aspect of the cells. Immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated co-localization of E-cadherin, beta-catenin, and TGF-beta 1 RII in unstimulated cells. After TGF-beta 1 stimulation, the TGF-beta 1 RII no longer associated with either E-cadherin or beta-catenin. Dissociation of the adherens junction protein from the TGF-beta 1 receptor was associated with increased beta-catenin tyrosine phosphorylation and decreased threonine phosphorylation. Furthermore after receptor ligand binding, beta-catenin became associated with the TGF-beta 1-signaling molecules Smad3 and Smad4.

Pubmed ID: 12000714


  • Tian YC
  • Phillips AO


The American journal of pathology

Publication Data

May 9, 2002

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Adherens Junctions
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cell Size
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Signal Transduction
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Tight Junctions
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • beta Catenin