Rac1 activation inhibits E-cadherin-mediated adherens junctions via binding to IQGAP1 in pancreatic carcinoma cells
- Equal contributors
1 Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Ulm, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany
2 Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Hospital Ulm, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany
Cell Communication and Signaling 2009, 7:23 doi:10.1186/1478-811X-7-23Published: 8 September 2009
Monomeric GTPases of the Rho family control a variety of cellular functions including actin cytoskeleton organisation, cell migration and cell adhesion. Defects in these regulatory processes are involved in tumour progression and metastasis. The development of metastatic carcinoma is accompanied by deregulation of adherens junctions, which are composed of E-cadherin/β- and α-catenin complexes.
Here, we show that the activity of the monomeric GTPase Rac1 contributes to inhibition of E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion in pancreatic carcinoma cells. Stable expression of constitutively active Rac1(V12) reduced the amount of E-cadherin on protein level in PANC-1 pancreatic carcinoma cells, whereas expression of dominant negative Rac1(N17) resulted in an increased amount of E-cadherin. Extraction of proteins associated with the actin cytoskeleton as well as coimmunoprecipitation analyses demonstrated markedly decreased amounts of E-cadherin/catenin complexes in Rac1(V12)-expressing cells, but increased amounts of functional E-cadherin/catenin complexes in cells expressing Rac1(N17). Cell aggregation and migration assays revealed, that cells containing less E-cadherin due to expression of Rac1(V12), exhibited reduced cell-cell adhesion and increased cell motility. The Rac/Cdc42 effector protein IQGAP1 has been implicated in regulating cell-cell adhesion. Coimmunoprecipitation studies showed a decrease in the association between IQGAP1 and β-catenin in Rac1(V12)-expressing PANC-1 cells and an association of IQGAP1 with Rac1(V12). Elevated association of IQGAP1 with the E-cadherin adhesion complex via β-catenin correlated with increased intercellular adhesion of PANC-1 cells.
These results indicate that active Rac1 destabilises E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion in pancreatic carcinoma cells by interacting with IQGAP1 which is associated with a disassembly of E-cadherin-mediated adherens junctions. Inhibition of Rac1 activity induced increased E-cadherin-mediated cellular adhesion.