Preventing E-cadherin aberrant N-glycosylation at Asn-554 improves its critical function in gastric cancer
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E-cadherin is a central molecule in the process of gastric carcinogenesis and its posttranslational modifications by N-glycosylation have been described to induce a deleterious effect on cell adhesion associated with tumor cell invasion. However, the role that site-specific glycosylation of E-cadherin has in its defective function in gastric cancer cells needs to be determined. Using transgenic mice models and human clinical samples, we demonstrated that N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GnT-V)-mediated glycosylation causes an abnormal pattern of E-cadherin expression in the gastric mucosa. In vitro models further indicated that, among the four potential N-glycosylation sites of E-cadherin, Asn-554 is the key site that is selectively modified with β1,6 GlcNAc-branched N-glycans catalyzed by GnT-V. This aberrant glycan modification on this specific asparagine site of E-cadherin was demonstrated to affect its critical functions in gastric cancer cells by affecting E-cadherin cellular localization, cis-dimer formation, molecular assembly and stability of the adherens junctions and cell–cell aggregation, which was further observed in human gastric carcinomas. Interestingly, manipulating this site-specific glycosylation, by preventing Asn-554 from receiving the deleterious branched structures, either by a mutation or by silencing GnT-V, resulted in a protective effect on E-cadherin, precluding its functional dysregulation and contributing to tumor suppression.
Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified