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PLoS biology

Alpha-catenin-dependent recruitment of the centrosomal protein CAP350 to adherens junctions allows epithelial cells to acquire a columnar shape.


PMID 25764135

Abstract

Epithelial morphogenesis involves a dramatic reorganisation of the microtubule cytoskeleton. How this complex process is controlled at the molecular level is still largely unknown. Here, we report that the centrosomal microtubule (MT)-binding protein CAP350 localises at adherens junctions in epithelial cells. By two-hybrid screening, we identified a direct interaction of CAP350 with the adhesion protein α-catenin that was further confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation experiments. Block of epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin)-mediated cell-cell adhesion or α-catenin depletion prevented CAP350 localisation at cell-cell junctions. Knocking down junction-located CAP350 inhibited the establishment of an apico-basal array of microtubules and impaired the acquisition of columnar shape in Madin-Darby canine kidney II (MDCKII) cells grown as polarised epithelia. Furthermore, MDCKII cystogenesis was also defective in junctional CAP350-depleted cells. CAP350-depleted MDCKII cysts were smaller and contained either multiple lumens or no lumen. Membrane polarity was not affected, but cortical microtubule bundles did not properly form. Our results indicate that CAP350 may act as an adaptor between adherens junctions and microtubules, thus regulating epithelial differentiation and contributing to the definition of cell architecture. We also uncover a central role of α-catenin in global cytoskeleton remodelling, in which it acts not only on actin but also on MT reorganisation during epithelial morphogenesis.