Dynamic regulation of endothelial cell adhesion is central to vascular development and maintenance. Furthermore, altered endothelial adhesion is implicated in numerous diseases. Therefore, normal vascular patterning and maintenance require tight regulation of endothelial cell adhesion dynamics. However, the mechanisms that control junctional plasticity are not fully understood. Vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) is an adhesive protein found in adherens junctions of endothelial cells. VE-cadherin mediates adhesion through trans interactions formed by its extracellular domain. Trans binding is followed by cis interactions that laterally cluster the cadherin in junctions. VE-cadherin is linked to the actin cytoskeleton through cytoplasmic interactions with β- and α-catenin, which serve to increase adhesive strength. Furthermore, p120-catenin binds to the cytoplasmic tail of cadherin and stabilizes it at the plasma membrane. Here we report that induced cis dimerization of VE-cadherin inhibits endocytosis independent of both p120 binding and trans interactions. However, we find that ankyrin-G, a protein that links membrane proteins to the spectrin-actin cytoskeleton, associates with VE-cadherin and inhibits its endocytosis. Ankyrin-G inhibits VE-cadherin endocytosis independent of p120 binding. We propose a model in which ankyrin-G associates with and inhibits the endocytosis of VE-cadherin cis dimers. Our findings support a novel mechanism for regulation of VE-cadherin endocytosis through ankyrin association with cadherin engaged in lateral interactions.
Keywords: adaptor protein; adherens junction; adhesion; cadherin; endocytosis; endothelial cell.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.