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Moztarzadeh, Sina; Radeva, Mariya Y.; Sepic, Sara; Schuster, Katharina; Hamad, Ibrahim; Waschke, Jens; García-Ponce, Alexander (2022): Lack of adducin impairs the stability of endothelial adherens and tight junctions and may be required for cAMP-Rac1-mediated endothelial barrier stabilization. Scientific Reports, 12: 14940. ISSN 2045-2322

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Adducin (Add) is an actin binding protein participating in the stabilization of actin/spectrin networks, epithelial junctional turnover and cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension. Recently, we demonstrated that Add is required for adherens junctions (AJ) integrity. Here we hypothesized that Add regulates tight junctions (TJ) as well and may play a role in cAMP-mediated barrier enhancement. We evaluated the role of Add in MyEnd cells isolated from WT and Add-Knock-Out (KO) mice. Our results indicate that the lack of Add drastically alters the junctional localization and protein levels of major AJ and TJ components, including VE-Cadherin and claudin-5. We also showed that cAMP signaling induced by treatment with forskolin and rolipram (F/R) enhances the barrier integrity of WT but not Add-KO cells. The latter showed no junctional reorganization upon cAMP increase. The absence of Add also led to higher protein levels of the small GTPases Rac1 and RhoA. In vehicle-treated cells the activation level of Rac1 did not differ significantly when WT and Add-KO cells were compared. However, the lack of Add led to increased activity of RhoA. Moreover, F/R treatment triggered Rac1 activation only in WT cells. The function of Rac1 and RhoA per se was unaffected by the total ablation of Add, since direct activation with CN04 was still possible in both cell lines and led to improved endothelial barrier function. In the current study, we demonstrate that Add is required for the maintenance of endothelial barrier by regulating both AJ and TJ. Our data show that Add may act upstream of Rac1 as it is necessary for its activation via cAMP.

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