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J Cell Sci 2009 Nov 15;122Pt 22:4049-61. doi: 10.1242/jcs.031948.
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Xenopus delta-catenin is essential in early embryogenesis and is functionally linked to cadherins and small GTPases.

Gu D , Sater AK , Ji H , Cho K , Clark M , Stratton SA , Barton MC , Lu Q , McCrea PD .

Catenins of the p120 subclass display an array of intracellular localizations and functions. Although the genetic knockout of mouse delta-catenin results in mild cognitive dysfunction, we found severe effects of its depletion in Xenopus. delta-catenin in Xenopus is transcribed as a full-length mRNA, or as three (or more) alternatively spliced isoforms designated A, B and C. Further structural and functional complexity is suggested by three predicted and alternative translation initiation sites. Transcript analysis suggests that each splice isoform is expressed during embryogenesis, with the B and C transcript levels varying according to developmental stage. Unlike the primarily neural expression of delta-catenin reported in mammals, delta-catenin is detectable in most adult Xenopus tissues, although it is enriched in neural structures. delta-catenin associates with classical cadherins, with crude embryo fractionations further revealing non-plasma-membrane pools that might be involved in cytoplasmic and/or nuclear functions. Depletion of delta-catenin caused gastrulation defects, phenotypes that were further enhanced by co-depletion of the related p120-catenin. Depletion was significantly rescued by titrated p120-catenin expression, suggesting that these catenins have shared roles. Biochemical assays indicated that delta-catenin depletion results in reduced cadherin levels and cell adhesion, as well as perturbation of RhoA and Rac1. Titrated doses of C-cadherin, dominant-negative RhoA or constitutively active Rac1 significantly rescued delta-catenin depletion. Collectively, our experiments indicate that delta-catenin has an essential role in amphibian development, and has functional links to cadherins and Rho-family GTPases.

PubMed ID: 19843587
PMC ID: PMC2776500
Article link: J Cell Sci
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cdh1 cdh2 cdh3 ctnnb1 ctnnd1 fn1 h4c4 rac1 rho rho.2 rhoa sult4a1 zbtb33
Morpholinos: ctnnd1 MO1 ctnnd1 MO2 ctnnd2 MO1 ctnnd2 MO2 sult4a1 MO1 zbtb33 MO1

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References [+] :
Abu-Elneel, A delta-catenin signaling pathway leading to dendritic protrusions. 2008, Pubmed