C1orf106 is a colitis risk gene that regulates stability of epithelial adherens junctions

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Science  09 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1161-1166
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan0814

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Overcoming a barrier to IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of disorders linked to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Colitis is a type of IBD that affects the inner lining of the colon and has been linked to a gene known as C1orf106. Mohanan et al. found that C1orf106 encodes a protein that stabilizes the integrity of epithelial junctions and enhances barrier defense (see the Perspective by Citi). IBD-associated mutations in C1orf106 lead to greater cytohesin-1 protein levels, changes in E-cadherin localization, and enhanced susceptibility to intestinal pathogens. Modulation of C1orf106 may thus hold promise for treating colitis and other IBDs.

Science, this issue p. 1161; see also p. 1097


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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