ZO-3, a Novel Member of the MAGUK Protein Family Found at the Tight Junction, Interacts with ZO-1 and Occludin

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A 130-kD protein that coimmunoprecipitates with the tight junction protein ZO-1 was bulk purified from Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells and subjected to partial endopeptidase digestion and amino acid sequencing. A resulting 19-amino acid sequence provided the basis for screening canine cDNA libraries. Five overlapping clones contained a single open reading frame of 2,694 bp coding for a protein of 898 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 98,414 daltons. Sequence analysis showed that this protein contains three PSD-95/SAP90, discs-large, ZO-1 (PDZ) domains, a src homology (SH3) domain, and a region similar to guanylate kinase, making it homologous to ZO-1, ZO-2, the discs large tumor suppressor gene product of Drosophila, and other members of the MAGUK family of proteins. Like ZO-1 and ZO-2, the novel protein contains a COOH-terminal acidic domain and a basic region between the first and second PDZ domains. Unlike ZO-1 and ZO-2, this protein displays a proline-rich region between PDZ2 and PDZ3 and apparently contains no alternatively spliced domain. MDCK cells stably transfected with an epitope-tagged construct expressed the exogenous polypeptide at an apparent molecular mass of ∼130 kD. Moreover, this protein colocalized with ZO-1 at tight junctions by immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy. In vitro affinity analyses demonstrated that recombinant 130-kD protein directly interacts with ZO-1 and the cytoplasmic domain of occludin, but not with ZO-2. We propose that this protein be named ZO-3.

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