Mutated epithelial cadherin is associated with increased tumorigenicity and loss of adhesion and of responsiveness to the motogenic trefoil factor 2 in colon carcinoma cells.
Efstathiou JA., Liu D., Wheeler JM., Kim HC., Beck NE., Ilyas M., Karayiannakis AJ., Mortensen NJ., Kmiot W., Playford RJ., Pignatelli M., Bodmer WF.
Epithelial (E)-cadherin and its associated cytoplasmic proteins (alpha-, beta-, and gamma-catenins) are important mediators of epithelial cell-cell adhesion and intracellular signaling. Much evidence exists suggesting a tumor/invasion suppressor role for E-cadherin, and loss of expression, as well as mutations, has been described in a number of epithelial cancers. To investigate whether E-cadherin gene (CDH1) mutations occur in colorectal cancer, we screened 49 human colon carcinoma cell lines from 43 patients by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis and direct sequencing. In addition to silent changes, polymorphisms, and intronic variants in a number of the cell lines, we detected frameshift single-base deletions in repeat regions of exon 3 (codons 120 and 126) causing premature truncations at codon 216 in four replication-error-positive (RER+) cell lines (LS174T, HCT116, GP2d, and GP5d) derived from 3 patients. In LS174T such a mutation inevitably contributes to its lack of E-cadherin protein expression and function. Transfection of full-length E-cadherin cDNA into LS174T cells enhanced intercellular adhesion, induced differentiation, retarded proliferation, inhibited tumorigenicity, and restored responsiveness to the migratory effects induced by the motogenic trefoil factor 2 (human spasmolytic polypeptide). These results indicate that, although inactivating E-cadherin mutations occur relatively infrequently in colorectal cancer cell lines overall (3/43 = 7%), they are more common in cells with an RER+ phenotype (3/10 = 30%) and may contribute to the dysfunction of the E-cadherin-catenin-mediated adhesion/signaling system commonly seen in these tumors. These results also indicate that normal E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion can restore the ability of colonic tumor cells to respond to trefoil factor 2.