Distribution of the cadherin-catenin complex in normal human thyroid epithelium and a thyroid carcinoma cell line

Shih Horng Huang, Jiahn Chun Wu, King Jen Chang, Koung Yi Liaw, Seu Mei Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


E-cadherin is the major cell-cell adhesion molecule expressed by epithelial cells. Cadherins form a complex with three cytoplasmic proteins, α-, β-, and γ-catenin, and the interaction between them is crucial for anchoring the actin cytoskeleton to the intercellular adherens junctions. The invasive behavior of cancer cells has been attributed to a dysfunction of these molecules. In this study, we examined the distribution of the cadherin- catenin complex in a Chinese human thyroid cancer cell line, CGTH W-2, compared with that in normal human thyroid epithelial cells. In the normal cells, using immunofluorescence staining, E-cadherin and α-, β-, and γ- catenin were found to be localized at the intercellular junction and appeared as 135, 102, 90, and 80 kD proteins on Western blots. In CGTH W-2 cells, no E-cadherin and γ-catenin immunoreactivity was detected by immunofluorescence or Western blotting; α- and β-catenin were detected as 102 and 90 kD proteins on blots but gave a diffuse cytoplasmic immunofluorescence staining pattern in most cells, while β-catenin was also distributed throughout the cytoplasm in most cells but was found at the cell junction in some, where it colocalized with α-actinin. The present data indicate that the loss of cell adhesiveness in these cancer cells may be due to incomplete assembly of the cadherin-catenin complex at the cell junction. However, this defect did not affect the linkage of actin bundles to vinculin-enriched intercellular junctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1998


  • Cadherin
  • Catenins
  • Cell-cell adhesion
  • Epithelial cell
  • Thyroid carcinoma cell


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