Cingulin, paracingulin, and PLEKHA7 are proteins localized in the cytoplasmic region of the apical junctional complex of vertebrate epithelial cells. Cingulin has been detected at tight junctions (TJs), whereas paracingulin has been detected at both TJs and adherens junctions (AJs) and PLEKHA7 has been detected at AJs. One function of cingulin and paracingulin is to regulate the activity of Rho family GTPases at junctions through their direct interaction with guanidine exchange factors of RhoA and Rac1. Cingulin also contributes to the regulation of transcription of several genes in different types of cultured cells, in part through its ability to modulate RhoA activity. PLEKHA7, together with paracingulin, is part of a protein complex that links E-cadherin to the microtubule cytoskeleton at AJs. In this paper, we review the current knowledge about these proteins, including their discovery, the characterization of their expression, localization, structure, molecular interactions, and their roles in different developmental and disease model systems.
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.