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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 May 15;22(10):1677-85. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-08-0677. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Tight function zonula occludens-3 regulates cyclin D1-dependent cell proliferation.

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Epithelial Pathobiology Research Unit, Department of Pathology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Coordinated regulation of cell proliferation is vital for epithelial tissue homeostasis, and uncontrolled proliferation is a hallmark of carcinogenesis. A growing body of evidence indicates that epithelial tight junctions (TJs) play a role in these processes, although the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. In this study, we identify and characterize a novel plasma membrane pool of cyclin D1 with cell-cycle regulatory functions. We have determined that the zonula occludens (ZO) family of TJ plaque proteins sequesters cyclin D1 at TJs during mitosis, through an evolutionarily conserved class II PSD-95, Dlg, and ZO-1 (PDZ)-binding motif within cyclin D1. Disruption of the cyclin D1/ZO complex through mutagenesis or siRNA-mediated suppression of ZO-3 resulted in increased cyclin D1 proteolysis and G(0)/G(1) cell-cycle retention. This study highlights an important new role for ZO family TJ proteins in regulating epithelial cell proliferation through stabilization of cyclin D1 during mitosis.

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