It has previously been shown that the monoclonal antibody anti-Arc-1 dissociates Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells and changes their morphology in vitro (Imhof, B.A., H.P. Vollmers, S.L. Goodman, and W. Birchmeier, 1983, Cell, 35:667-675). In this article we demonstrate that the anti-Arc-1 antibody recognizes an uvomorulin-like molecule on MDCK cells, i.e., it immunoprecipitates an 84-kD protein fragment from a tryptic digest of cell surfaces in the presence of Ca2+ (as does anti-uvomorulin antiserum). Furthermore, anti-uvomorulin antiserum prevents the binding of anti-Arc-1 to MDCK cells. The distribution of the Arc-1 antigen is also quite similar to that of uvomorulin: it is enriched at the cell-cell contacts both of MDCK cells and of cells in various canine tissues. In the intestinal epithelium the antigen could be further localized in the region of the junctional complex. To study the mechanism of action of the dissociating antibody, MDCK cells grown on Nuclepore filters in Boyden chambers were exposed to anti-Arc-1 from either the upper or lower compartment. It could be shown that the antibody interfered with cell adhesion only from the basolateral but not from the apical cell surface. Antibody action was inhibited in the presence of colchicine but not cytochalasin B. Furthermore, cell dissociation was prevented when the cellular cAMP level was raised. These findings indicate that the anti-Arc-1 antibody acts on a target below the tight junctions (possibly on the antigen located in the junctional complex), and they confirm that cytoskeleton and metabolic factors are actively involved in the maintenance of junctional integrity.

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