When the surface view of each epithelial cell is compared with a polygon, its sides correspond to cell-cell junctions, whereas its vertices correspond to tricellular contacts, whose roles in epithelial cell morphogenesis have not been well studied. Here, we show that tricellulin (also known as MARVELD2), which is localized at tricellular contacts, regulates F-actin organization through Cdc42. Tricellulin-knockdown epithelial cells exhibit irregular polygonal shapes with curved cell borders and impaired organization of Factin fibers around tricellular contacts during cell-cell junction formation. The N-terminal cytoplasmic domain of tricellulin binds to the Cdc42 guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF) Tuba (also known as DNMBP and ARHGEF36), and activates Cdc42. A tricellulin mutant that lacks the ability to bind Tuba cannot rescue the curved cell border phenotype of tricellulin-knockdown cells. These findings indicate that tricellular contacts play crucial roles in regulating the actomyosin-mediated apical junctional complex tension through the tricellulin-Tuba-Cdc42 system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology