Direct evidence that Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule (NCAM) polysialylation increases intermembrane repulsion and abrogates adhesion

Colin P. Johnson, Ichiro Fujimoto, Urs Rutishauser, Deborah E. Leckband

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Molecular force measurements quantified the impact of polysialylation on the adhesive properties both of membrane-bound neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and of other proteins on the same membrane. These results show quantitatively that NCAM polysialylation increases the range and magnitude of intermembrane repulsion. The repulsion is sufficient to overwhelm both homophilic NCAM and cadherin attraction at physiological ionic strength, and it abrogates the protein-mediated intermembrane adhesion. The steric repulsion is ionic strength dependent and decreases substantially at high monovalent salt concentrations with a concomitant increase in the intermembrane attraction. The magnitude of the repulsion also depends on the amount of polysialic acid (PSA) on the membranes, and the PSA-dependent attenuation of cadherin adhesion increases with increasing PSA-NCAM:cadherin ratios. These findings agree qualitatively with independent reports based on cell adhesion studies and reveal the likely molecular mechanism by which NCAM polysialylation regulates cell adhesion and intermembrane space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume280
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 7 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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