Members of the SAP family of synapse-associated proteins have recently emerged as central players in the molecular organization of synapses. In this study, we have examined the mechanism that localizes one member, SAP97, to sites of cell-cell contact. Utilizing epithelial CACO-2 cells and fibroblast L-cells as model systems, we demonstrate that SAP97 is associated with the submembranous cortical cytoskeleton at cell-cell adhesion sites. Furthermore, we show that its localization into this structure is triggered by E-cadherin. Although SAP97 can be found in an E-cadherin/catenin adhesion complex, this interaction seems to be mediated by the attachment of SAP97 to the cortical cytoskeleton. Our results are consistent with a model in which SAP97 is recruited to sites of cell-cell contact via an E-cadherin induced assembly of the cortical cytoskeleton.

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