Previous studies have shown that induction of cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion leads to tight junction formation, and that blocking cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion inhibits tight junction assembly. Here we report analysis of tight junction assembly in MDCK cells overexpressing a mutant E-cadherin protein that lacks an adhesive extracellular domain (T151 cells). Mutant E-cadherin overexpression caused a dramatic reduction in endogenous cadherin levels. Despite this, tight junction assembly was extensive. The number of tight junction strands observed by freeze-fracture electron microscopy significantly increased in T151 cells compared to that in control cells. Our data indicate that the hierarchical regulation of junctional complex assembly is not absolute, and that inhibition of cadherin function has both positive and negative effects on tight junction assembly.
- © 2000 by Company of Biologists