Distinct functions of natural ADAM-15 cytoplasmic domain variants in human mammary carcinoma.
Adamalysins [a disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM)] are a family of cell surface transmembrane proteins that have broad biological functions encompassing proteolysis, adhesion, and cell signal regulation. We previously showed that the cytoplasmic domain of ADAM-15 interacts with Src family protein tyrosine kinases and the adaptor protein growth factor receptor binding protein 2 (Grb2). In the present study, we have cloned and characterized four alternatively spliced forms of ADAM-15, which differ only in their cytoplasmic domains. We show that the four ADAM-15 variants were differentially expressed in human mammary carcinoma tissues compared with normal breast. The expression of the individual isoforms did not correlate with age, menopausal status, tumor size or grade, nodal status, Nottingham Prognostic Index, or steroid hormone receptor status. However, higher levels of two isoforms (ADAM-15A and ADAM-5B) were associated with poorer relapse-free survival in node-negative patients, whereas elevated ADAM-15C correlated with better relapse-free survival in node-positive, but not in node-negative, patients. The expression of ADAM-15A and ADAM-15B variants in MDA-MB-435 cells had differential effects on cell morphology, with adhesion, migration, and invasion enhanced by expression of ADAM-15A, whereas ADAM-15B led to reduced adhesion. Using glutathione S-transferase pull-down assays, we showed that the cytoplasmic domains of ADAM-15A, ADAM-15B, and ADAM-15C show equivalent abilities to interact with extracellular signal-regulated kinase and the adaptor molecules Grb2 and Tks5/Fish, but associate in an isoform-specific fashion with Nck and the Src and Brk tyrosine kinases. These data indicate that selective expression of ADAM-15 variants in breast cancers could play an important role in determining tumor aggressiveness by interplay with intracellular signaling pathways.