Zonula occludens-1 function in the assembly of tight junctions in madin-darby canine kidney epithelial cells

McNeil E, Capaldo C and Macara IG
Source: Mol Biol Cell
Publication Date: (2006)
Issue: 17(4): 1922-32
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Cells used in publication:
Species: canine
Tissue Origin: kidney
Nucleofector® I/II/2b
Zonula occludens (ZO)-1 was the first tight junction protein to be cloned and has been implicated as an important scaffold protein. It contains multiple domains that bind a diverse set of junction proteins. However, the molecular functions of ZO-1 and related proteins such as ZO-2 and ZO-3 have remained unclear. We now show that gene silencing of ZO-1 causes a delay of approximately 3 h in tight junction formation in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells, but mature junctions seem functionally normal even in the continuing absence of ZO-1. Depletion of ZO-2, cingulin, or occludin, proteins that can interact with ZO-1, had no discernible effects on tight junctions. Rescue of junction assembly using murine ZO-1 mutants demonstrated that the ZO-1 C terminus is neither necessary nor sufficient for normal assembly. Moreover, mutation of the PDZ1 domain did not block rescue. However, point mutations in the Src homology 3 (SH3) domain almost completely prevented rescue. Surprisingly, the isolated SH3 domain of ZO-1 could also rescue junction assembly. These data reveal an unexpected function for the SH3 domain of ZO-1 in regulating tight junction assembly in epithelial cells and show that cingulin, occludin, or ZO-2 are not limiting for junction assembly in MDCK monolayers.