Cigarette smoke disrupts the integrity of airway adherens junctions through the aberrant interaction of p120-catenin with the cytoplasmic tail of MUC1.

Abstract

Adherens junctions (AJs) containing epithelial cadherin (E-cad) bound to p120-catenin (p120ctn) and β-catenin (β-ctn) play a crucial role in regulating cell-cell adhesion. Cigarette smoke abrogates cell-cell adhesion between epithelial cells by disrupting E-cad, a hallmark of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), yet the underlying mechanism remains unknown. We used an organotypic culture of primary human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells treated with smoke-concentrated medium (Smk) to establish an essential role for the interaction between p120ctn and the cytoplasmic tail of MUC1 (MUC1-CT) in regulating E-cad disruption. Within the first 4 h of smoke exposure, apical MUC1-CT repositioned to the basolateral membrane of pseudo-stratified HBE cells, where it interacted with p120ctn. A time-dependent increase in MUC1-CT/p120ctn complexes occurred in conjunction with a time-dependent dissociation of p120ctn/E-cad/β-ctn complexes, as well as the coordinated degradation of p120ctn and E-cad. Interestingly, Smk induced a similar interaction between MUC1-CT and β-ctn, but this occurred 44 h after MUC1-CT's initial interaction with p120ctn, and well after the AJs were destroyed. Blocking MUC1-CT's interaction with p120ctn using a MUC1-CT dominant-negative peptide, PMIP, successfully abolished Smk's disruptive effects on AJs and recovered apical-basolateral polarity of HBE cells. The MUC1-CT/p120ctn interaction was highly dependent on EGFR/Src/Jnk-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation (TyrP) of MUC1-CT. Accordingly, EGFR, Src or Jnk inhibitors (AG1478, PP2, SP600125, respectively) abrogated Smk-induced MUC1-CT-TyrP, MUC1-CT/p120ctn interaction, AJ disruption, and loss of cellular polarity. Our work identified MUC1-CT and p120ctn as important regulators of epithelial polarity and cell-cell adhesion during a smoke-induced EMT-like process. Novel therapeutics designed to inhibit MUC1-CT/p120ctn complex formation may prevent EMT in the smoker's airway.

DOI: 10.1002/path.4070

Cite this paper

@article{Zhang2013CigaretteSD, title={Cigarette smoke disrupts the integrity of airway adherens junctions through the aberrant interaction of p120-catenin with the cytoplasmic tail of MUC1.}, author={Lili Zhang and Marianne Gallup and Lorna T. Zlock and Carol B. Basbaum and Walter E. Finkbeiner and Nancy A McNamara}, journal={The Journal of pathology}, year={2013}, volume={229 1}, pages={74-86} }