Study Title:

Cleavage of E-cadherin: a mechanism for disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier by Candida a

Study Abstract

To investigate how intestinal epithelial cells respond to contact with Candida albicans, an organism able to invade the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract, we focused on the junction proteins occludin, E-cadherin, and desmoglein-2. The levels of these 3 junction proteins were reduced in lysates of human intestinal epithelial monolayers (Caco-2) after a 24-h inoculation with C. albicans, compared with lysates from Saccharomyces cerevisiae-inoculated monolayers. Treatment with pepstatin A did not change the effect of C. albicans on full-length occludin, desmoglein-2, and E-cadherin; however, pepstatin A enhanced the accumulation of a 35-kDa fragment derived from the intracellular portion of E-cadherin. This 35-kDa fragment also accumulated in the presence of gamma-secretase inhibitors. These observations suggest that enhancement of E-cadherin cleavage by C. albicans generates an intracellular E-cadherin fragment that can serve as a substrate for gamma-secretase. An 89-kDa extracellular fragment of E-cadherin was detected in supernatants of C. albicans-inoculated monolayers; this cleavage event was insensitive to both pepstatin A and gamma-secretase inhibitors. Transepithelial electrical resistance, a measure of monolayer integrity, decreased significantly and synchronously with increased generation of the 89-kDa extracellular E-cadherin fragment. Cleavage of E-cadherin may destabilize the homotypic interactions between adjacent epithelial cells and could contribute to loss of monolayer integrity. These experiments identify 2 E-cadherin cleavage events that are enhanced by contact with C. albicans: an intracellular cleavage event that generates a substrate for gamma-secretase and an extracellular cleavage event that is temporally associated with an increase in monolayer permeability.

Study Information

Cleavage of E-cadherin: a mechanism for disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier by Candida albicans
Transl Res.
2007 April

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