Regulation of cell motile behavior by crosstalk between cadherin- and integrin-mediated adhesions. Academic Article uri icon


  • During normal development and in disease, cohesive tissues undergo rearrangements that require integration of signals from cell adhesions to neighboring cells and to the extracellular matrix (ECM). How a range of cell behaviors is coordinated by these different adhesion complexes is unknown. To analyze epithelial cell motile behavior in response to combinations of cell-ECM and cell-cell adhesion cues, we took a reductionist approach at the single-cell scale by using unique, functionalized micropatterned surfaces comprising alternating stripes of ECM (collagenIV) and adjustable amounts of E-cadherin-Fc (EcadFc). On these surfaces, individual cells spatially segregated integrin- and cadherin-based complexes between collagenIV and EcadFc surfaces, respectively. Cell migration required collagenIV and did not occur on surfaces functionalized with only EcadFc. However, E-cadherin adhesion dampened lamellipodia activity on both collagenIV and EcadFc surfaces and biased the direction of cell migration without affecting the migration rate, all in an EcadFc concentration-dependent manner. Traction force microscopy showed that spatial confinement of integrin-based adhesions to collagenIV stripes induced anisotropic cell traction on collagenIV and migration directional bias. Selective depletion of different pools of alphaE-catenin, an E-cadherin and actin binding protein, identified a membrane-associated pool required for E-cadherin-mediated adhesion and down-regulation of lamellipodia activity and a cytosolic pool that down-regulated the migration rate in an E-cadherin adhesion-independent manner. These results demonstrate that there is crosstalk between E-cadherin- and integrin-based adhesion complexes and that E-cadherin regulates lamellipodia activity and cell migration directionality, but not cell migration rate.

publication date

  • July 27, 2010