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  • 1
    Keywords: desmosomes ; cell differentiation ; adhering junctions ; hematopoietic cells ; mesenchymal–epithelial transitions ; desmoglein
    Abstract: Using biochemical as well as light- and electron-microscopic immunolocalization methods, in cultures of unicellular human blood tumor cells, we have studied the phenomenon of spontaneous and cumulative syntheses of certain epithelial proteins and glycoproteins and their assemblies to two major kinds of novel cell-cell junctions, adhering junctions (AJs) and junctions based on the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM). More than two decades, we have selected and characterized clonal sublines of multipotential hematopoietic K562 cells, which are enriched in newly formed AJs based on cis-clusters of desmoglein Dsg2, in some sublines accompanied by desmocollin Dsc2. Both desmosomal cadherins can be anchored in a submembranous plaque containing plakoglobin and plakophilins Pkp2 and Pkp3, with or without other armadillo proteins and desmoplakin. Also, these cells are often connected by an additional, extended junction system, in which the transmembrane epithelial glycoprotein EpCAM is associated with a cytoplasmic plaque rich in several actin-binding proteins such as afadin, alpha-actinin, ezrin and vinculin. Both kinds of junctions contribute to connections of K562 cells into epithelioid monolayers or even three-dimensional, tissue-like structures, thus markedly changing the cell biological nature and behavior of the resulting tumor subforms (mesenchymal-epithelial transitions). We discuss molecular mechanisms involved in the formation and function of these junctions, also with respect to tumor spread and metastasis, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic consequences.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21647878
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  • 2
    Abstract: During the screening of a zebrafish postsomitogenesis embryo cDNA library, we have identified a cDNA corresponding to a novel type of protein localized to the notochordal sheath-associated extracellular matrix (ECM) of the embryo. The 4.049-kb mRNA encodes a predicted polypeptide of 1,207 amino acids (122 kDa, pI 10.50) with a potential signal peptide of 20 amino acids. After the signal peptide, the mature protein consists of 1,187 amino acids (119 kDa, pI 10.46), for which the name "Calymmin" (from Greek chialphalambdanumumualpha, to envelop, to cover) is proposed. The Calymmin mRNA is highly and transiently expressed by the notochord cells of the embryo from the 10- to 12-somite stage to the pharyngula period (13 and 24 hours postfertilization, respectively), and light and electron microscopical immunolocalization analysis revealed that the protein was specifically localized within a granular and filamentous layer of the ECM compartment surrounding the notochord. In zebrafish no tail mutants (ntl(tc41)), in which the notochord precursor cells are present but fail to differentiate, the Calymmin protein was not detected, confirming the notochord origin of Calymmin. These results indicate that Calymmin is a novel constitutive protein of the ECM compartment associated to the perinotochordal sheath in the zebrafish embryo, which is specifically expressed by the differentiating notochord cells.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 12112472
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  • 3
    Abstract: Occludin and several proteins of the claudin family have been identiried in simple epithelia and in endothelia as major and structure-determining transmembrane proteins clustered in the barrier-forming tight junctions (TJ), where they are associated with a variety of TJ plaque proteins, including protein ZO-1. To examine whether TJ also occur in the squamous stratified epithelium of the interfollicular human epidermis we have applied several microscopic and biochemical techniques. Using RT-PCR techniques, we have identiried mRNAs encoding protein ZO-1, occludin and claudins 1, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, and 17 in both tissues, skin and cultured keratinocytes, whereas claudins i and 10 have only been detected in skin tissue. By immunocytochemistry we have localized claudin-1, occludin and protein ZO-1 in distinct plasma membrane structures representing cell-cell attachment zones. While claudin-1 occurs in plasma membranes of all living cell layers, protein ZO-1 is concentrated in or even restricted to the uppermost layers, and occludin is often detected only in the stratum granulosum. Using electron microscopy, typical TJ structures ("kissing points") as well as some other apparently related junctional structures have been detected in the stratum granulosum, interspersed between desmosomes. Modes and patterns of TJ formation have also been studied in experimental model systems, e.g., during wound healing and stratification as well as in keratinocyte cultures during Ca2+-induced stratification. We conclude that the epidermis contains in the stratum granulosum a continuous zonula occludens-equivalent structure with typical TJ morphology and molecular composition, characterized by colocalization of occludin, claudins and TJ plaque proteins. In addition, cell-cell contact structures and certain TJ proteins can also be detected in other epidermal cell layers in specific cell contacts. The pattern of formation and possible functions of epidermal TJ and related structures are discussed.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 12067061
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  • 4
    Abstract: Desmoglein 2 (Dsg2) is a Ca(2+)-dependent adhesion molecule of desmosomes and is synthesized in all desmosome-bearing tissues from their earliest appearance onward. To examine the function of Dsg2, its gene was inactivated by homologous recombination in embryonal stem (ES) cells for the generation of knockout mice. DSG2 -/- mice and a considerable number of DSG2 +/- mice died at or shortly after implantation. On the other hand, DSG2 -/- blastocysts developed an apparently normal trophectoderm layer, the first tissue known to produce desmosomes, and hatched properly. Immunofluorescence analyses of these blastocysts showed, however, that the distribution of the desmosomal plaque protein desmoplakin was disturbed, whereas the adherens junction proteins E-cadherin and beta-catenin appeared to be unaffected. Unexpectedly, we found that Dsg2 seems to be essential for the inner cell mass and the ES cell population derived there from. We present evidence that Dsg2, which is located in desmoplakin-negative wild-type ES cells in non-desmosomal junctions, is needed for normal ES cell proliferation. Our observations thus reveal that important Dsg2 functions are desmosome-independent during early development and are needed for ES cell and early embryo survival.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 12494996
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  • 5
    Keywords: ADHESION MOLECULE ; FREEZE-FRACTURE ; CORNEAL EPITHELIUM ; INTERCELLULAR-JUNCTIONS ; GAP-JUNCTIONS ; SEPTATE JUNCTIONS ; PARACELLULAR PERMEABILITY ; ZONULA OCCLUDENS ; ORAL EPITHELIUM ; PROTEIN ZO-1
    Abstract: The occurrence of extended tight junction (TJ) structures, including zonulae occludentes (ZO), and the spatial arrangement of TJ proteins in stratified mammalian epithelia has long been controversially discussed. Therefore, we have systematically examined the localization of TJ proteins in diverse stratified epithelial tissues (e.g., epidermis, heel pad, snout, gingiva, tongue, esophagus, exocervix, vagina, urothelium, cornea) of various species (human, bovine, rodents) as well as in human cell culture lines derived from stratified epithelia, by electron microscopy as well as by immunocytochemistry at both the light and the electron microscopic level, using antibodies to TJ proteins such as occludin, claudins 1 and 4, protein ZO-1, cingulin and symplekin. We have found an unexpected diversity of TJ-related structures of which only those showing colocalization with the most restricted transmembrane TJ marker protein, occludin, are presented here. While in epidermis and urothelium occludin is restricted to the uppermost living cell layer, TJ-related junctions are abundant in the upper third or even in the majority of the suprabasal cell layers in other stratified epithelia. Interfollicular epidermis contains, in the stratum granulosum, extended, probably continuous ZO-like structures which can also be traced at least through the Henle cell layer of hair follicles. Similar apical ZO-like structures have been seen in the upper living cell layers of all other stratified epithelia and cell cultures examined, but in most of them we have noticed, in addition, junctional regions showing relatively broad, ribbon-like membrane contacts which in cross-section often appear pentalaminar, with an electron-dense middle lamella ("lamellated TJs", coniunctiones laminosae). In suprabasal layers of several stratified epithelia we have further observed TJ protein-containing junctions of variable sizes which are characterized by a 10-30-nm dense lamina interposed between the two membranes ("sandwich junctions"; iuncturae structae). Moreover, we have often observed variously sized regions in which the intermembrane distance is rather regularly bridged by short rod-like elements ("cross-bridged cell walls"; parietes transtillati), often in close vicinity of TJ-related structures or desmosomes. The significance of these structures and their possible biological importance are discussed.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 12234014
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  • 6
    Keywords: TISSUE
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22215211
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  • 7
    Keywords: DESMOSOMAL PLAQUE PROTEINS ; ADHERENS JUNCTIONS ; N-CADHERIN ; SERTOLI-CELL ; POSTNATAL-DEVELOPMENT ; MALE CONTRACEPTIVE DEVELOPMENT ; RAT TESTIS ; ECTOPLASMIC SPECIALIZATION ; BARRIER DYNAMICS ; CYTOSKELETAL PROTEINS
    Abstract: The seminiferous tubules and the excurrent ducts of the mammalian testis are physiologically separated from the mesenchymal tissues and the blood and lymph system by a special structural barrier to paracellular translocations of molecules and particles: the "blood-testis barrier", formed by junctions connecting Sertoli cells with each other and with spermatogonial cells. In combined biochemical as well as light and electron microscopical studies we systematically determine the molecules located in the adhering junctions of adult mammalian (human, bovine, porcine, murine, i.e., rat and mouse) testis. We show that the seminiferous epithelium does not contain desmosomes, or "desmosome-like" junctions, nor any of the desmosome-specific marker molecules and that the adhering junctions of tubules and ductules are fundamentally different. While the ductules contain classical epithelial cell layers with E-cadherin-based adherens junctions (AJs) and typical desmosomes, the Sertoli cells of the tubules lack desmosomes and "desmosome-like" junctions but are connected by morphologically different forms of AJs. These junctions are based on N-cadherin anchored in cytoplasmic plaques, which in some subforms appear thick and dense but in other subforms contain only scarce and loosely arranged plaque structures formed by alpha- and beta-catenin, proteins p120, p0071 and plakoglobin, together with a member of the striatin family and also, in rodents, the proteins ZO-1 and myozap. These N-cadherin-based AJs also include two novel types of junctions: the "areae adhaerentes", i.e., variously-sized, often very large cell-cell contacts and small sieve-plate-like AJs perforated by cytoplasm-to-cytoplasm channels of 5-7 nm internal diameter ("cribelliform junctions"). We emphasize the unique character of this epithelium that totally lacks major epithelial marker molecules and structures such as keratin filaments and desmosomal elements as well as EpCAM- and PERP-containing junctions. We also discuss the nature, development and possible functions of these junctions.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24907851
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  • 8
    Abstract: Targeting of nuclear lamins to the inner nuclear membrane requires CaaX motif-dependent posttranslational isoprenylation and carboxyl methylation. We previously have shown that two variants of lamin LIII (i.e., LIII and LIIIb) in amphibian oocytes are generated by alternative splicing and differ greatly in their membrane association. An extra cysteine residue (as a potential palmitoylation site) and a basic cluster in conjunction with the CaaX motif function as secondary targeting signals responsible for stable membrane association of lamin LIIIb. cDNA sequencing and genomic analysis of the zebrafish Danio rerio lamin LIII uncovers a remarkable conservation of the genomic organization and of the two secondary membrane-targeting signals in amphibians and fish. The expression pattern of lamin LIII genes is also conserved between amphibians and fish. Danio lamin LIII is expressed in diplotene oocytes. It is absent from male germ cells but is expressed in Sertoli cells of the testis. In addition, we provide sequence information of the entire coding sequence of zebrafish lamin A, which allows comparison of all major lamins from representatives of the four classes of vertebrates.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 11893082
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  • 9
    Abstract: Symplekin is a dual location protein that has been localized to the cytoplasmic plaques of tight junctions but also occurs in the form of interchromatin particles in the karyoplasm. Here we report the identification of two novel and major symplekin-containing protein complexes in both the karyo- and the cytoplasm of Xenopus laevis oocytes. Buffer-extractable fractions from the karyoplasm of stage IV-VI oocytes contain an 11S particle, prepared by immunoselection and sucrose gradient centrifugation, in which symplekin is associated with the subunits of the cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor (CPSF). Moreover, in immunofluorescence microscopy nuclear symplekin colocalizes with protein CPSF-100 in the "Cajal bodies." However, symplekin is also found in cytoplasmic extracts of enucleated oocytes and egg extracts, where it occurs in 11S as well as in ca. 65S particles, again in association with CPSF-100. This suggests that, in X. laevis oocytes, symplekin is possibly involved in both processes, 3'-end processing of pre-mRNA in the nucleus and regulated polyadenylation in the cytoplasm. We discuss the possible occurrence of similar symplekin-containing particles involved in mRNA metabolism in the nucleus and cytoplasm of other kinds of cells, also in comparison with the nuclear forms of other dual location proteins in nuclei and cell junctions.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 12006661
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  • 10
    Abstract: M-cadherin is a classical calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecule that is highly expressed in developing skeletal muscle, satellite cells, and cerebellum. Based on its expression pattern and observations in cell culture, it has been postulated that M-cadherin may be important for the fusion of myoblasts to form myotubes, the correct localization and function of satellite cells during muscle regeneration, and the specialized architecture of adhering junctions in granule cells of cerebellar glomeruli. In order to investigate the potential roles of M-cadherin in vivo, we generated a null mutation in mice. Mutant mice were viable and fertile and showed no gross developmental defects. In particular, the skeletal musculature appeared essentially normal. Moreover, muscle lesions induced by necrosis were efficiently repaired in mutant mice, suggesting that satellite cells are present, can be activated, and are able to form new myofibers. This was also confirmed by normal growth and fusion potential of mutant satellite cells cultured in vitro. In the cerebellum of M-cadherin-lacking mutants, typical contactus adherens junctions were present and similar in size and numbers to the equivalent junctions in wild-type animals. However, the adhesion plaques in the cerebellum of these mutants appeared to contain elevated levels of N-cadherin compared to wild-type animals. Taken together, these observations suggest that M-cadherin in the mouse serves no absolutely required function during muscle development and regeneration and is not essential for the formation of specialized cell contacts in the cerebellum. It seems that N-cadherin or other cadherins can largely compensate for the lack of M-cadherin.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 12052883
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