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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

L-CAM expression induces fibroblast-epidermoid transition in squamous carcinoma cells and down-regulates the endogenous N-cadherin.

SCC9 cells, derived from a squamous carcinoma of the tongue, were shown to lack E-cadherin but express alpha- and beta-catenins and N-cadherin. These cells also lack plakoglobin expression, do not assemble desmosomes and exhibit the typical morphology and growth properties of transformed cells. The N-cadherin expressed in SCC9 cells has properties similar to other classical cadherins, including interactions with the catenins. We transfected SCC9 cells with a full-length cDNA for L-CAM (liver cell adhesion molecule), the functional chicken homologue of E-cadherin. The exogenously expressed L-CAM formed complexes with catenins and the cytoskeleton and induced a morphological transition from fibroblastoid to epithelioid, conferred density-dependent growth inhibition, increased aggregation ability, and increased synthesis and stability of alpha- and beta-catenins. Coincident with these phenotypic changes, we detected a significant reduction in the level of endogenous N-cadherin, primarily as a result of rapid degradation of this protein in L-CAM-expressing cells. These results show the abnormal expression of N-cadherin in these transformed epidermoid cells, demonstrate the dynamics of the relationship between two cadherins, and provide a model system for the functional analysis of the tumor suppressor activity of E-cadherin in carcinomas.[1]


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