E-cadherin controls β-catenin and NF-κB transcriptional activity in mesenchymal gene expression

Guiomar Solanas, Montserrat Porta-de-la-Riva, Cristina Agusti, David Casagolda, Francisco Sánchez-Aguilera, María Jesús Larriba, Ferran Pons, Sandra Peiró, Maria Escrivà, Alberto Muñoz, Mireia Duñach, Antonio García de Herreros, Josep Baulida

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110 Citations (Scopus)


E-cadherin and its transcriptional repressor Snaill (Snail) are two factors that control epithelial phenotype. Expression of Snaill promotes the conversion of epithelial cells to mesenchymal cells, and occurs concomitantly with the downregulation of E-cadherin and the upregulation of expression of mesenchymal genes such as those encoding fibronectin and LEF1. We studied the molecular mechanism controlling the expression of these genes in mesenchymal cells. Forced expression of E-cadherin strongly downregulated fibronectin and LEF1 RNA levels, indicating that E-cadherin-sensitive factors are involved in the transcription of these genes. E-cadherin overexpression decreased the transcriptional activity of the fibronectin promoter and reduced the interaction of β-catenin and NF-κB with this promoter. Similar to β-catenin, NF-κB was found, by co-immunoprecipitation and pull-down assays, to be associated with E-cadherin and other cell-adhesion components. Interaction of the NF-κB p65 subunit with E-cadherin or β-catenin was reduced when adherens junctions were disrupted by K-ras overexpression or by E-cadherin depletion using siRNA. These conditions did not affect the association of p65 with the NF-βB inhibitor IκBα. The functional significance of these results was stressed by the stimulation of NF-κB transcriptional activity, both basal and TNF-α-stimulated, induced by an E-cadherin siRNA. Therefore, these results demonstrate that E-cadherin not only controls the transcriptional activity of β-catenin but also that of NF-κB They indicate too that binding of this latter factor to the adherens junctional complex prevents the transcription of mesenchymal genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2224-2234
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


  • β-catenin
  • Cadherin
  • EMT
  • NF-κB
  • Snail


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