Characterization of the tight junction protein ZO-2 localized at the nucleus of epithelial cells

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ZO-2 is a MAGUK protein that in confluent epithelial sheets localizes at tight junctions (TJ) whereas in sparse cultures accumulates in clusters at the nucleus. Here, we have characterized several nuclear properties of ZO-2. We observe that ZO-2 is present in the nuclear matrix and co-immunoprecipitates with lamin B1 and actin from the nuclei of sparse cultures. We show that ZO-2 presents several NLS at its amino region, that when deleted, diminish the nuclear import of the ZO-2 amino segment and impair the ability of the region to regulate the transcriptional activity of promoters controlled by AP-1. Several RS repeats are detected in the ZO-2 amino segment, however, their deletion does not preclude the display of a speckled nuclear pattern. ZO-2 displays two putative NES. However, only the second one appears to be functional, as when conjugated to ovalbumin (OV), it is able to translocate this protein from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in a leptomycin B-sensitive way.

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