Inducible overexpression of cingulin in stably transfected MDCK cells does not affect tight junction organization and gene expression

Paschoud, S.; Citi, S.

Molecular Membrane Biology 25(1): 1-13


ISSN/ISBN: 0968-7688
PMID: 18097951
DOI: 10.1080/09687680701474009
Accession: 021188060

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Cingulin is a component of the cytoplasmic domain of vertebrate tight junctions (TJ). Mutation or down-regulation of cingulin in cultured cells results in changes in gene expression. Some of these changes are dependent on RhoA, whose activity is regulated by GEF-H1, which is inactivated by binding to cingulin at junctions. To gain further insights on the function of cingulin through dominant-negative effects, we cloned and sequenced canine cingulin, and developed stable MDCK cell lines where either full-length cingulin, or head or rod+tail domains were inducibly overexpressed. Surprisingly, analysis of these clones by immunoblotting, microarray, immunofluorescence, measurement of transepithelial resistance, and cell density showed that the overexpression of either full-length cingulin or its domains does not significantly affect TJ protein levels, gene expression, RhoA activity, cell density, doubling time, and the organization and function of TJ. These results suggest that compensatory mechanisms prevent dominant-negative effects in this model system, and that modulation of cellular functions by cingulin occurs within physiological protein levels.