In vitro protein complex formation with cytoskeleton-anchoring domain of occludin identified by limited proteolysis.

Bi Hung Peng, J. Ching Lee, Gerald A. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Occludin is an essential membrane protein component of cellular tight junctions, participating in both cell-cell adhesion in the paracellular space and anchoring of the junctional complex to the cytoskeleton. The latter function is accomplished through binding of the C-terminal cytoplasmic region to scaffolding proteins that mediate binding to cytoskeletal actin. We isolated a structural domain from both the bacterial-expressed C-terminal cytoplasmic region of human occludin and native cellular occludin, extracted from epithelial (Madin-Darby canine kidney) or endothelial (human brain) cells, by limited proteolysis with trypsin. This human occludin domain contains the last 119 amino acids as identified by N-terminal sequencing and peptide mass fingerprinting using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry. Based on the sequence and secondary structure prediction, this domain contains 4 of 5 alpha-helices in the C-terminal region and is linked to the fourth membrane-spanning region by a loosely structured tethering polypeptide. Comparison of circular dichroism spectra of recombinant proteins corresponding to the entire C-terminal region versus only the binding domain region also supports the interpretation that the helical structural elements are concentrated in that domain. Co-immunoprecipitation of this domain with ZO-2 demonstrated preservation of the specificity of the scaffolding protein-binding function, and binding studies with immobilized ZO-2 suggest the presence of multiple ZO-2 binding sites in this domain. These results provide a basis for development of a structural model of the ZO-binding site that can be used to investigate regulation of tight junction anchoring by intracellular signaling events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49644-49651
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 5 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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