Polymorphisms in C1orf106 are associated with increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the function of C1orf106 and the consequences of disease-associated polymorphisms are unknown. Here we demonstrate that C1orf106 regulates adherens junction stability by regulating the degradation of cytohesin-1, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that controls activation of ARF6. By limiting cytohesin-1-dependent ARF6 activation, C1orf106 stabilizes adherens junctions. Consistent with this model, C1orf106-/- mice exhibit defects in the intestinal epithelial cell barrier, a phenotype observed in IBD patients that confers increased susceptibility to intestinal pathogens. Furthermore, the IBD risk variant increases C1orf106 ubiquitination and turnover with consequent functional impairments. These findings delineate a mechanism by which a genetic polymorphism fine-tunes intestinal epithelial barrier integrity and elucidate a fundamental mechanism of cellular junctional control.
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