Evidence that increased tyrosine phosphorylation causes disassembly of adherens junctions but does not perturb paracellular permeability in Caco-2 cells.

Tissue & cell

PubMedID: 11949786

Morgado-Díaz JA, De Souza W. Evidence that increased tyrosine phosphorylation causes disassembly of adherens junctions but does not perturb paracellular permeability in Caco-2 cells. Tissue Cell. 2001;33(5):500-13.
In this study, we report on the apparent effect of increased tyrosine phosphorylation events on the assembly and integrity of adherens junctions (AJs) and on paracellular permeability in Caco-2 cells. Cell monolayers were incubated with the phosphotyrosine phosphatase inhibitor vanadate/H2O2. Addition of this compound to monolayer resulted in disruption of the AJs, as revealed by electron microscopy and by a loss of membrane association of the AJ-associated protein uvomorulin/E-cadherin (U/E-c). However, tight junctions (TJs) were unaltered, as determined by measuring the transepithelial resistance (Rt), by ruthenium red labeling, as seen by transmission electron microscopy, and the distribution of TJ strands as seen in freeze-fracture replicas and by hyperphosphorylation of triton-insoluble occludin. Also examination of vanadate/H2O2 treated cells indicated a specific increase in AJ-associated phosphotyrosine residues as evaluated by immunofluorescence microscopy, but no modification of F-actin distribution, as revealed by confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis. To verify that modulation of AJs was indeed related to tyrosine phosphorylation, we tested a range of distinct protein kinase inhibitors. Of the three inhibitors tested (tyrphostin 25, genistein and staurosporine), tyrphostin 25 completely blocked the effects of vanadate/ H2O2 on assembly and integrity of AJs, redistribution of U/E-c and phosphotyrosine labeling. Our results indicate that, after addition of vanadate/H2O2 to Caco-2 monolayers, specific tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins cause disruption of AJs, but no modifications of the TJs' structure and functionality. These observations suggest that, in contrast to what happens with epithelial cells, TJs and AJs of Caco-2 cells are regulated by independent mechanisms.