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Overlapping and divergent signalling pathways of N- and VE-cadherin in endothelial cells.

Publication Date: 
Giampietro C, Taddei A, Corada M, Sarra-Ferraris GM, Alcalay M, Cavallaro U, Orsenigo F, Lampugnani MG, Dejana E.
Blood. 2012 Mar 1;119(9):2159-70. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Endothelial cells (ECs) express 2 members of the cadherin family, VE and N-cadherin. Although VE-cadherin induces EC homotypic adhesion, N-cadherin function in ECs remains largely unknown. EC-specific inactivation of either VE or N-cadherin leads to early fetal lethality suggesting that these cadherins play a nonredundant role in vascular development. We report here that VE-cadherin negatively controls junctional localization and expression of N-cadherin by limiting p120-catenin availability and reducing β-catenin transcriptional activity. Using EC lines expressing either VE or N-cadherin we found that both cadherins inhibit cell proliferation and apoptosis. Both trigger the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH-kinase (PI3K)-AKT-Forkhead-box protein-O1 (FoxO1) pathway and reduce β-catenin transcriptional activity. The extent of signaling correlates with the total level of cadherins regardless of the type of cadherin expressed. In contrast, basal and fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-induced cell motility is promoted by N-cadherin and strongly inhibited by VE-cadherin. This opposite effect is partly because of the ability of VE-cadherin to associate with FGF receptor and the density-enhanced phosphatase-1 (Dep-1) which, in turn, inhibits receptor signaling. We conclude that VE and N-cadherin have both additive and divergent effects on ECs. Differences in signaling are due, in part, to cadherin association with growth factor receptors and modulation of their downstream signaling