During epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs), cells disassemble cadherin-based junctions to segregate from the epithelia. Chick premigratory cranial neural crest cells reduce Cadherin-6B (Cad6B) levels through several mechanisms, including proteolysis, to permit their EMT and migration. Serial processing of Cad6B by a disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) proteins and γ-secretase generates intracellular C-terminal fragments (CTF2s) that could acquire additional functions. Here we report that Cad6B CTF2 possesses a novel pro-EMT role by up-regulating EMT effector genes in vivo. After proteolysis, CTF2 remains associated with β-catenin, which stabilizes and redistributes both proteins to the cytosol and nucleus, leading to up-regulation of β-catenin, CyclinD1, Snail2, and Snail2 promoter-based GFP expression in vivo. A CTF2 β-catenin–binding mutant, however, fails to alter gene expression, indicating that CTF2 modulates β-catenin–responsive EMT effector genes. Notably, CTF2 association with the endogenous Snail2 promoter in the neural crest is β-catenin dependent. Collectively, our data reveal how Cad6B proteolysis orchestrates multiple pro-EMT regulatory inputs, including CTF2-mediated up-regulation of the Cad6B repressor Snail2, to ensure proper cranial neural crest EMT.
- Submitted: 2 April 2016
- Revision received 19 September 2016
- Accepted: 25 October 2016
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