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Architecture of the VE-cadherin hexamer.

Elizabeth A. Hewat 1, 2 Claire Durmort 2, 3 Lilian Jacquamet 2, 4 Evelyne Concord 2, 3 Danielle Gulino-Debrac 2, 3, * 
* Corresponding author
1 LMES - Laboratoire de Microscopie Electronique Structurale
IBS - UMR 5075 - Institut de biologie structurale
3 LIM - Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Macromolécules
IBS - UMR 5075 - Institut de biologie structurale
4 LCCP - Laboratoire de Cristallographie et Cristallogénèse des Protéines
IBS - UMR 5075 - Institut de biologie structurale
Abstract : Vascular endothelial-cadherin (VE-cadherin) is the major constituent of the adherens junctions of endothelial cells and plays a key role in angiogenesis and vascular permeability. The ectodomains EC1-4 of VE-cadherin are known to form hexamers in solution. To examine the mechanism of homotypic association of VE-cadherin, we have made a 3D reconstruction of the EC1-4 hexamer using electron microscopy and produced a homology model based on the known structure of C-cadherin EC1-5. The hexamer consists of a trimer of dimers with each N-terminal EC1 module making an antiparallel dimeric contact, and the EC4 modules forming extensive trimeric interactions. Each EC1-4 molecule makes a helical curve allowing some torsional flexibility to the edifice. While there is no direct evidence for the existence of hexamers of cadherin at adherens junctions, the model that we have produced provides indirect evidence since it can be used to explain some of the disparate results for adherens junctions. It is in accord with the X-ray and electron microscopy results, which demonstrate that the EC1 dimer is central to homotypic cadherin interaction. It provides an explanation for the force measurements of the interaction between opposing cadherin layers, which have previously been interpreted as resulting from three different interdigitating interactions. It is in accord with observations of native junctions by cryo-electron microscopy. The fact that this hexameric model of VE-cadherin can be used to explain more of the existing data on adherens junctions than any other model alone argues in favour of the existence of the hexamer at the adherens junction. In the context of the cell-cell junction these cis-trimers close to the membrane, and trans-dimers from opposing membranes, would increase the avidity of the bond.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 9:18:44 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 8:27:03 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 8:54:43 PM


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Elizabeth A. Hewat, Claire Durmort, Lilian Jacquamet, Evelyne Concord, Danielle Gulino-Debrac. Architecture of the VE-cadherin hexamer.. Journal of Molecular Biology, Elsevier, 2007, 365 (3), pp.744-51. ⟨10.1016/j.jmb.2006.10.052⟩. ⟨inserm-00433355⟩



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