A novel member of the cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules has been characterized by cloning from rat liver, sequencing of the corresponding cDNA, and functional analysis after heterologous expression in nonadhesive S2 cells. cDNA clones were isolated using a polyclonal antibody inhibiting Ca(2+)-dependent intercellular adhesion of hepatoma cells. As inferred from the deduced amino acid sequence, the novel molecule has homologies with E-, P-, and N-cadherins, but differs from these classical cadherins in four characteristics. Its extracellular domain is composed of five homologous repeated domains instead of four characteristic for the classical cadherins. Four of the five domains are characterized by the sequence motifs DXNDN and DXD or modifications thereof representing putative Ca(2+)-binding sites of classical cadherins. In its NH2-terminal region, this cadherin lacks both the precursor segment and the endogenous protease cleavage site RXKR found in classical cadherins. In the extracellular EC1 domain, the novel cadherin contains an AAL sequence in place of the HAV sequence motif representing the common cell adhesion recognition sequence of E-, P-, and N-cadherin. In contrast to the conserved cytoplasmic domain of classical cadherins with a length of 150-160 amino acid residues, that of the novel cadherin has only 18 amino acids. Examination of transfected S2 cells showed that despite these structural differences, this cadherin mediates intercellular adhesion in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. The novel cadherin is solely expressed in liver and intestine and was, hence, assigned the name LI-cadherin. In these tissues, LI-cadherin is localized to the basolateral domain of hepatocytes and enterocytes. These results suggest that LI-cadherin represents a new cadherin subtype and may have a role in the morphological organization of liver and intestine.

This content is only available as a PDF.