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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Junctional adhesion molecule 1 regulates epithelial cell morphology through effects on beta1 integrins and Rap1 activity.

Epithelial tight junctions form a selectively permeable barrier to ions and small molecules. Junctional adhesion molecule 1 (JAM1/JAM-A/F11R) is a tight junction-associated transmembrane protein that has been shown to participate in the regulation of epithelial barrier function. In a recent study, we presented evidence suggesting that JAM1 homodimer formation is critical for epithelial barrier function (Mandell, K. J., McCall, I. C., and Parkos, C. A. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 16254-16262). Here we have used small interfering RNA to investigate the effect of the loss of JAM1 expression on epithelial cell function. Consistent with our previous study, knockdown of JAM1 was observed to increase paracellular permeability in epithelial monolayers. Interestingly, knockdown of JAM1 also produced dramatic changes in cell morphology, and a similar effect was observed with expression of a JAM1 mutant lacking the putative homodimer interface. Further studies revealed that JAM1 knockdown decreased cell-matrix adhesion and spreading on matrix proteins that are ligands of beta1 integrins. These changes were characterized by a decrease in beta1 integrin protein levels and loss of beta1 integrin staining at the cell surface. Immunolabeling of cells for the small GTPase Rap1, a known activator of beta1 integrins, revealed colocalization of Rap1 with JAM1 at intercellular junctions, and knockdown of JAM1 resulted in decreased Rap1 activity. Lastly, knockdown of Rap1b resulted in diminished beta1 integrin expression and altered cell morphology analogous to that observed with knockdown of JAM1. Together, these results suggest that JAM1 regulates epithelial cell morphology and beta1 integrin expression by modulating activity of the small GTPase Rap1.[1]


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