Constriction of the apical plasma membrane is a hallmark of epithelial cells that underlies cell shape changes in tissue morphogenesis and maintenance of tissue integrity in homeostasis. Contractile force is exerted by a cortical actomyosin network that is anchored to the plasma membrane by the apical junctional complexes (AJC). In this study, we present evidence that MAGI proteins, structural components of AJC whose function remained unclear, regulate apical constriction of epithelial cells through the Par polarity proteins. We reveal that MAGIs are required to uniformly distribute Partitioning defective-3 (Par-3) at AJC of cells throughout the epithelial monolayer. MAGIs recruit ankyrin-repeat-, SH3-domain- and proline-rich-region-containing protein 2 (ASPP2) to AJC, which modulates Par-3-aPKC to antagonize ROCK-driven contractility. By coupling the adhesion machinery to the polarity proteins to regulate cellular contractility, we propose that MAGIs play essential and central roles in maintaining steady state intercellular tension throughout the epithelial cell sheet.
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