The spatial distribution of molecular signals within cells is crucial for cellular functions. Here, as a model to study the polarized spatial distribution of molecular activities, we used cells on micropatterned strips of fibronectin with one end free and the other end contacting a neighbouring cell. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase and the small GTPase Rac display greater activity at the free end, whereas myosin II light chain and actin filaments are enriched near the intercellular junction. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Rac polarization depend specifically on the N-cadherin-p120catenin complex, whereas myosin II light chain and actin filament polarization depend on the N-cadherin-β- catenin complex. Integrins promote high phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Rac activities at the free end, and the N-cadherin-p120catenin complex excludes integrin α5 at the junctions to suppress local phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Rac activity. We hence conclude that N-cadherin couples with distinct effectors to polarize phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Rac and myosin II light chain/actin filaments in migrating cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)