Cytoplasmic junctional plaque proteins play an important role at intercellular junctions. They link transmembrane cell adhesion molecules to components of the cytoskeleton, thereby playing an important role in the control of many cellular processes. Recent studies on the subcellular distribution of some plaque proteins have revealed that a number of these proteins are able to localize in the nucleus. This dual location indicates that in addition to promoting adhesive interactions, plaque proteins may also play a direct role in nuclear processes, and in particular in the transfer of signals from the membrane to the nucleus. Therefore, translocation of plaque proteins into the nucleus in response to extracellular signals could represent a novel and direct mechanism by which signals can be transmitted from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. This could allow cells to respond to changing environmental conditions in a rapid and efficient way. In addition, conditional sequestration of karyophilic proteins at the sites of cell-cell and cell-substratum adhesion may represent a general mechanism for the regulation of nucleocytoplasmic transport.
- Cell junctions
- Nuclear localization sequence
- Nuclear protein import
- Nuclear signaling
- Plaque proteins