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. 1996 Jan;109 ( Pt 1):11-20.

N-cadherin in Adult Rat Cardiomyocytes in Culture. II. Spatio-temporal Appearance of Proteins Involved in Cell-Cell Contact and Communication. Formation of Two Distinct N-cadherin/catenin Complexes

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  • PMID: 8834786
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N-cadherin in Adult Rat Cardiomyocytes in Culture. II. Spatio-temporal Appearance of Proteins Involved in Cell-Cell Contact and Communication. Formation of Two Distinct N-cadherin/catenin Complexes

C M Hertig et al. J Cell Sci. .
Free article

Abstract

The spatio-temporal appearance and distribution of proteins forming the intercalated disc were investigated in adult rat cardiomyocytes (ARC). The 'redifferentiation model' of ARC involves extensive remodelling of the plasma membrane and of the myofibrillar apparatus. It represents a valuable system to elucidate the formation of cell-cell contact between cardiomyocytes and to assess the mechanisms by which different proteins involved in the cell-cell adhesion process are sorted in a precise manner to the sites of function. Appearance of N-cadherin, the catenins and connexin43 within newly formed adherens and gap junctions was studied. Here first evidence is provided for a formation of two distinct and separable N-cadherin/catenin complexes in cardiomyocytes. Both complexes are composed of N-cadherin and alpha-catenin which bind to either beta-catenin or plakoglobin in a mutually exclusive manner. The two N-cadherin/catenin complexes are assumed to be functionally involved in the formation of cell-cell contacts in ARC; however, the differential appearance and localization of the two types of complexes may also point to a specific role during ARC differentiation. The newly synthesized beta-catenin containing complex is more abundant during the first stages in culture after ARC isolation, while the newly synthesized plakoglobin containing complex progressively accumulates during the morphological changes of ARC. ARC formed a tissue-like pattern in culture whereby the new cell-cell contacts could be dissolved through Ca2+ depletion. Presence of cAMP and replenishment of Ca2+ content in the culture medium not only allowed reformation of cell-cell contacts but also affected the relative protein ratio between the two N-cadherin/catenin complexes, increasing the relative amount of newly synthesized beta-catenin over plakoglobin at a particular stage of ARC differentiation. The clustered N-cadherin/catenin complexes at the plasma membrane appear to be a prerequisite for the following gap junction formation; a temporal sequence of the appearance of adherens junction proteins and of gap junctions forming connexin-43 is suggested.

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