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Mol Biol Cell. 2019 Mar 1;30(5):566-578. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E18-08-0531. Epub 2019 Jan 9.

Role of JAM-A tyrosine phosphorylation in epithelial barrier dysfunction during intestinal inflammation.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.
Department of Pathology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642.


Junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A), an epithelial tight junction protein, plays an important role in regulating intestinal permeability through association with a scaffold signaling complex containing ZO-2, Afadin, and the small GTPase Rap2. Under inflammatory conditions, we report that the cytoplasmic tail of JAM-A is tyrosine phosphorylated (p-Y280) in association with loss of barrier function. While barely detectable Y280 phosphorylation was observed in confluent monolayers of human intestinal epithelial cells under basal conditions, exposure to cytokines TNFα, IFNγ, IL-22, or IL-17A, resulted in compromised barrier function in parallel with increased p-Y280. Phosphorylation was Src kinase dependent, and we identified Yes-1 and PTPN13 as a major kinase and phosphatase for p-JAM-A Y280, respectively. Moreover, cytokines IL-22 or IL-17A induced increased activity of Yes-1. Furthermore, the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 rescued cytokine-induced epithelial barrier defects and inhibited phosphorylation of JAM-A Y280 in vitro. Phosphorylation of JAM-A Y280 and increased permeability correlated with reduced JAM-A association with active Rap2. Finally, we observed increased phosphorylation of Y280 in colonic epithelium of individuals with ulcerative colitis and in mice with experimentally induced colitis. These findings support a novel mechanism by which tyrosine phosphorylation of JAM-A Y280 regulates epithelial barrier function during inflammation.


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