Identification and characterization of Xenopus Kazrin, a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein that interacts with ARVCF catenin

Travis Gregory Vaught, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


In common with other members of the p120-catenin subclass of catenins, ARVCF-catenin appears to have multiple cellular and developmental functions. In Xenopus, our lab recently demonstrated that xARVCF- and Xp120-catenins are each essential for early vertebrate embryogenesis, being functionally linked to Rho-family GTPases (RhoA, Rac) and cadherin metabolic stability. For the project described here, the yeast two-hybrid system was employed to screen a Xenopus laevis neurula library for proteins that interact with xARVCF, resulting in the identification of the Xenopus homolog of Kazrin (xKazrin). Kazrin is a variably-spliced protein of unknown function that has been shown to interact with periplakin and envoplakin, components of desmosomal junctions. Kazrin's primary sequence is highly conserved across vertebrate species and is composed of an amino-terminal nuclear export sequence (NES), a carboxy-terminal nuclear localization sequence (NLS) and a central predicted coiled-coil domain. In vitro and in vivo authenticity tests demonstrated that xARVCF-catenin interacts directly with xKazrin via xARVCF's Armadillo and carboxy-terminal regions and xKazrin's coiled-coil domain. The interaction of xARVCF-catenin with xKazrin is specific and does not extend to the related Xp120-catenin. xKazrin co-localized with E-cadherin at sites of cell-cell contact and could be co-immunoprecipitated with components of the cadherin complex. xKazrin was also present in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Suggestive of a nuclear role, mutation of xKazrin's predicted NLS resulted in nuclear exclusion, while deletion of the predicted NES resulted in loss of sensitivity to nuclear export inhibitors. Within Xenopus embryos, xKazrin was expressed across all developmental stages and appeared at varying levels in adult tissues. Morpholino depletion of xKazrin from Xenopus embryos resulted in axial elongation abnormalities and loss of tissue integrity after neurulation. Over-expression of xKazrin had no effect, while over-expression of a NLS mutant resulted in a mild phenotype similar to that seen in xKazrin depleted embryos. Interestingly, the axial phenotype resulting from reduced xKazrin levels was largely rescuable by xARVCF over-expression. In conjunction with xARVCF-catenin, xKazrin has properties consistent with its function at cell-cell contact sites and in the nucleus.

Subject Area

Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Vaught, Travis Gregory, "Identification and characterization of Xenopus Kazrin, a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein that interacts with ARVCF catenin" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3168448.