Oligomeric state of the colon carcinoma-associated glycoprotein GA733-2 (Ep-CAM/EGP40) and its role in GA733-mediated homotypic cell-cell adhesion

Mohamed Trebak, Gillian E. Begg, Jae Min Chong, Ekaterina V. Kanazireva, Dorothee Herlyn, David W. Speicher

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The GA733-2 antigen (GA733) is a homotypic calcium-independent cell adhesion molecule (CAM) present in most normal human epithelial cells and gastrointestinal carcinomas. Because oligomerization of some CAMs regulates cell adhesion and signal transduction, the correlation between GA733 oligomeric state and cell-cell adhesion was investigated. Sedimentation equilibrium studies showed that full-length (-FL) GA733 exists as dimers and tetramers in solution, whereas the GA733 extracellular domain (-EC) is a monomer. The Kd of GA733-FL is less than 10 nM for the monomer-dimer association, whereas the dimer-tetramer association is about 1000-fold weaker (Kd ∼10 μM). Chemical cross-linking of purified GA733-FL in solution resulted in a major product corresponding to GA733 dimers, and minor amounts of trimers and tetramers. However, GA733-EC cross-linked under the same conditions was consistently a monomer. Chemical cross-linking of dissociated colon carcinoma cells produced predominantly GA733 dimers, whereas cross-linking of cells in monolayers yielded some tetramers as well. GA733-FL retained its cell-cell adhesion function as shown by inhibition of cell aggregation, whereas monomeric GA733-EC was inactive. These data show that GA733 exists predominantly as high affinity noncovalent cis-dimers in solution and on dissociated colon carcinoma cells. The lower affinity association of dimers to form tetramers is most likely the head-to-head interaction between GA733 cis-dimers on opposing cells that represents its cell-cell adhesion activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2299-2309
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 19 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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