Junctional adhesion molecule C (JAM-C) dimerization aids cancer cell migration and metastasis.
Most cancer deaths result from metastasis, which is the dissemination of cells from a primary tumor to distant organs. Metastasis involves changes to molecules that are essential for tumor cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix and to endothelial cells. Junctional Adhesion Molecule C (JAM-C) localizes at intercellular junctions as homodimers or more affine heterodimers with JAM-B. We previously showed that the homodimerization site (E66) in JAM-C is also involved in JAM-B binding. Here we show that neoexpression of JAM-C in a JAM-C-negative carcinoma cell line induced loss of adhesive property and pro-metastatic capacities. We also identify two critical structural sites (E66 and K68) for JAM-C/JAM-B interaction by directed mutagenesis of JAM-C and studied their implication on tumor cell behavior. JAM-C mutants did not bind to JAM-B or localize correctly to junctions. Moreover, mutated JAM-C proteins increased adhesion and reduced proliferation and migration of lung carcinoma cell lines. Carcinoma cells expressing mutant JAM-C grew slower than with JAM-C WT and were not able to establish metastatic lung nodules in mice. Overall these data demonstrate that the dimerization sites E66-K68 of JAM-C affected cell adhesion, polarization and migration and are essential for tumor cell metastasis.Lire l‘article