Binding of GEF-H1 to the Tight Junction-Associated Adaptor Cingulin Results in Inhibition of Rho Signaling and G1/S Phase Transition

Division of Cell Biology, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, UK.
Developmental Cell (Impact Factor: 9.71). 06/2005; 8(5):777-86. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2005.03.003
Source: PubMed


The activity of Rho GTPases is carefully timed to control epithelial proliferation and differentiation. RhoA is downregulated when epithelial cells reach confluence, resulting in inhibition of signaling pathways that stimulate proliferation. Here we show that GEF-H1/Lfc, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for RhoA, directly interacts with cingulin, a junctional adaptor. Cingulin binding inhibits RhoA activation and signaling, suggesting that the increase in cingulin expression in confluent cells causes downregulation of RhoA by inhibiting GEF-H1/Lfc. In agreement, RNA interference of GEF-H1 or transfection of GEF-H1 binding cingulin mutants inhibit G1/S phase transition of MDCK cells, and depletion of cingulin by regulated RNA interference results in irregular monolayers and RhoA activation. These results indicate that forming epithelial tight junctions contribute to the downregulation of RhoA in epithelia by inactivating GEF-H1 in a cingulin-dependent manner, providing a molecular mechanism whereby tight junction formation is linked to inhibition of RhoA signaling.

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