Recruitment of {beta}-Catenin to N-Cadherin Is Necessary for Smooth Muscle Contraction [Cell Biology]

February 24th, 2015 by Wang, T., Wang, R., Cleary, R. A., Gannon, O. J., Tang, D. D.

β-Catenin is a key component that connects transmembrane cadherin with the actin cytoskeleton at the cell-cell interface. However, the role of the β-catenin/cadherin interaction in smooth muscle has not been well characterized. Here, stimulation with acetylcholine (ACh) promoted the recruitment of β-catenin to N-cadherin in smooth muscle cells/tissues. Knockdown of β-catenin by lentivirus-mediated shRNA attenuated smooth muscle contraction. Nevertheless, myosin light chain phosphorylation at Ser-19 and actin polymerization in response to contractile activation were not reduced by β-catenin knockdown. In addition, the expression of the β-catenin Arm domain disrupted the recruitment of β-catenin to N-cadherin. Force development, but not myosin light chain phosphorylation and actin polymerization, was reduced by the expression of the β-catenin Arm domain. Furthermore, actin polymerization and microtubules have been implicated in intracellular trafficking. In this study, the treatment with the inhibitor latrunculin A diminished the interaction of β-catenin with N-cadherin in smooth muscle. In contrast, the exposure of smooth muscle to the microtubule depolymerizer nocodazole did not affect the protein-protein interaction. Together, these findings suggest that smooth muscle contraction is mediated by the recruitment of β-catenin to N-cadherin, which may facilitate intercellular mechano-transduction. The association of β-catenin with N-cadherin is regulated by actin polymerization during contractile activation.