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Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), the major scaffolding protein of tight junctions (TJs), recruits the cytoskeleton-associated proteins cingulin (CGN) and paracingulin (CGNL1) to TJs by binding to their N-terminal ZO-1 interaction motif. The conformation of ZO-1 can be either folded or extended, depending on cytoskeletal tension and intramolecular and intermolecular interactions, and only ZO-1 in the extended conformation recruits the transcription factor DbpA to TJs. However, the sequences of ZO-1 that interact with CGN and CGNL1 and the role of TJ proteins in ZO-1 TJ assembly are not known. Here, we used glutathione-S-transferase pulldowns and immunofluorescence microscopy to show that CGN and CGNL1 bind to the C-terminal ZU5 domain of ZO-1 and that this domain is required for CGN and CGNL1 recruitment to TJs and to phase-separated ZO-1 condensates in cells. We show that KO of CGN, but not CGNL1, results in decreased accumulation of ZO-1 at TJs. Furthermore, ZO-1 lacking the ZU5 domain showed decreased accumulation at TJs, was detectable along lateral contacts, had a higher mobile fraction than full-length ZO-1 by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis, and had a folded conformation, as determined by structured illumination microscopy of its N-terminal and C-terminal ends. The CGN-ZU5 interaction promotes the extended conformation of ZO-1, since binding of the CGN-ZO-1 interaction motif region to ZO-1 resulted in its interaction with DbpA in cells and in vitro. Together, these results show that binding of CGN to the ZU5 domain of ZO-1 promotes ZO-1 stabilization and accumulation at TJs by promoting its extended conformation.


85129345375 (Scopus)




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Journal of Biological Chemistry

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