Tricellulin secures the epithelial barrier at tricellular junctions by interacting with actomyosin

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The epithelial cell sheet functions as a barrier to prevent invasion of pathogens. It is necessary to eliminate intercellular gaps not only at bicellular junctions, but also at tricellular contacts, where three cells meet, to maintain epithelial barrier function. To that end, tight junctions between adjacent cells must associate as closely as possible, particularly at tricellular contacts. Tricellulin is an integral component of tricellular tight junctions (tTJs), but the molecular mechanism of its contribution to the epithelial barrier function remains unclear. In this study, we revealed that tricellulin contributes to barrier formation by regulating actomyosin organization at tricellular junctions. Furthermore, we identified α-catenin, which is thought to function only at adherens junctions, as a novel binding partner of tricellulin. α-catenin bridges tricellulin attachment to the bicellular actin cables that are anchored end-on at tricellular junctions. Thus, tricellulin mobilizes actomyosin contractility to close the lateral gap between the TJ strands of the three proximate cells that converge on tricellular junctions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202009037
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 4 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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