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Oncogene

Variation in cadherins and catenins expression is linked to both proliferation and transformation of Rhabdomyosarcoma.


PMID 14691446

Abstract

Cadherins are a family of transmembrane glycoproteins that mediate Ca(2+)-dependent homophilic cell-cell adhesion and play a crucial role in cell differentiation. E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion is lost during the development of most epithelial cancers. This study examines cadherin-dependent adhesion in cell lines derived from rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a highly malignant soft-tissue tumor committed to the myogenic lineage, but arrested prior to terminal differentiation. We analysed the expression of cadherins and associated catenins at the mRNA and protein levels as well as their localization in nine RMS-derived cell lines relative to normal myoblasts. We show a decrease in the expression of cadherins and catenins in all RMS-derived cell lines compared to control cells. This decrease in the expression of N- and M-cadherin was confirmed in RMS biopsies. In contrast, R-cadherin is found expressed in RMS, whereas it is normally absent in normal myoblasts. We show that a decrease of R-cadherin expression using RNA interference inhibits cell proliferation of the RD cell line. In addition to their diminished expression, cadherins and catenins do not localize to intercellular contacts in embryonal RMS (ERMS), whereas specific persistent localization is seen in alveolar RMS (ARMS)-derived cell lines. Thus, RMS exhibit defects in the expression of molecules of the cadherin family. Defects in the localization of these adhesion molecules at the sites of cell-cell contact are specifically observed in the ERMS subtype. In addition, our data suggest that R-cadherin is a specific diagnostic marker for RMS and is also an important factor of RMS cell proliferation.

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