The identification and regulation of a novel interaction occurring between beta-catenin and the actin-bundling protein fascin

Ying-Shuang Tao, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Catenins were first characterized as linking the cytoplasmic domains of cadherin cell-cell adhesion molecules to the cortical actin cytoskeleton. In addition to their essential role in modulating cadherin adhesion, catenins have more recently been indicated to participate in cell and developmental signaling pathways. $\beta$-catenin, for example, associates directly with receptor tyrosine kinases and transcription factors such as LEF-1/TCF, and tranduces developmental signals within the Wnt pathway. $\beta$-catenin also appear to a role in regulating cell proliferation via its interaction with the tumor supressor protein APC. I have employed the yeast two-hybrid method to reveal that fascin, a bundler of actin filaments, binds to $\beta$-catenin's central Armadillo-repeat domain. The $\beta$-catenin-fascin interaction exists in cell lines as well as in animal brain tissues as revealed by immunoprecipitation analysis, and substantiated in vitro with purified proteins. Fascin additionally binds to plakoglobin, which contains a more divergent Armadillo-repeat domain. Fascin and E-cadherin utilize a similar binding-site within $\beta$-catenin, such that they form mutually exclusive complexes with $\beta$-catenin. Fascin and $\beta$-catenin co-localize at cell-cell borders and dynamic cell leading edges of epithelial and endothelial cells. Total immunoprecipitable b-catein has several isoforms, only the hyperphosphorylated isoform 1 associated with fascin. An increased $\beta$-catenin-fascin interaction was observed in HGF stimulated cells, and in Xenopus embryos injected with src kinase RNAs. The increased $\beta$-catenin association with fascin is correlated with increased levels of $\beta$-catenin phosphorylation. $\beta$-catenin, but not fascin, can be readily phosphorylated on tyrosine in vivo following src injection of embryos, or in vitro following v-src addition to purified protein components. These observations suggest a role of $\beta$-catenin phosphorylation in regulating its interaction with fascin, and src kinase may be an important regulator of the $\beta$-catenin-fascin association in vivo. The $\beta$-catenin-fascin interaction represents a novel catenin complex, that may conceivably regulate actin cytoskeletal structures, cell adhesion, and cellular motility, perhaps in a coordinate manner with its functions in cadherin and APC complexes.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Genetics|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Tao, Ying-Shuang, "The identification and regulation of a novel interaction occurring between beta-catenin and the actin-bundling protein fascin" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9807056.