Presenilin 1/γ-secretase modulates P-cadherin processing and influences cell adhesion in oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines.

PMID 23740836


P-cadherin belongs to a family of Ca(2+)-dependent homophilic cell-cell adhesion proteins that are important for correct cellular localization and tissue integrity in the oral epithelium. P-cadherin is only expressed in the basal and suprabasal cell layers of the oral epithelium, but in advanced oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), a reduced membranous and an enhanced cytoplasmic truncated P-cadherin level is observed. In this study, we investigated the impact of presenilin (PS) 1/γ-secretase on P-cadherin processing in OSCC. Western blot analyses showed an enhanced PS1 expression in OSCC cell lines and in primary oral keratinocytes (POK) isolated from primary OSCC tissue (OSCC POK) compared with POKs isolated from normal oral mucosa. Immunocytochemical stainings and co-immunoprecipitation experiments revealed a cytoplasmic colocalization and a direct interaction of P-cadherin and PS1 in OSCC POKs. Blocking of PS1/γ-secretase activity by the PS1/γ-secretase inhibitors and N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-L-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester, another specific γ-secretase inhibitor yielded a 100 kDa P-cadherin band on western blots of OSCC cell line extracts. Small interfering RNA knockdown of PS1 equally generated a 100 kDa P-cadherin form in OSCC POKs. Mass spectrometry analyses and experiments with the glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin characterized the appearing 100 kDa P-cadherin band as the unglycosylated full-length form of P-cadherin. On the functional level, cell attachment assays demonstrated an enhanced cell adhesion after PS1/γ-secretase inhibition only in the transiently P-cadherin expressing OSCC cell line PCI52 but not in the PCI52 control cells. In summary, our results show that PS1/γ-secretase contributes to P-cadherin processing and to reduced cell adhesion in OSCC.