Research ArticleCell Biology

Structural basis for the interaction between the cell polarity proteins Par3 and Par6

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Sci. Signal.  13 Feb 2018:
Vol. 11, Issue 517, eaam9899
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aam9899

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Building a polarity scaffold

Cell types often exhibit asymmetric distributions of proteins, lipids, and organelles that are linked to specialized functions, and loss of polarization precedes pathological conditions such as cancer. The cell polarity proteins Par3 and Par6 and the kinase aPKC are critical for generating asymmetry in cells. Par3 and Par6 contain multiple PDZ domains, which bind to short motifs to enable protein-protein interactions. Using biochemical analyses, cultured cells, and fly embryos, Renschler et al. identified a PDZ domain–binding motif in Par6 that bound to two of the three PDZ domains in Par3. These results suggest that one Par3 protein could bind to two Par6 proteins, which could serve as the basis for polarity-generating protein scaffolds in cells.