hDlg, a human homologue of the Drosophila Dig tumor suppressor, contains two binding sites for protein 4.1, one within a domain containing three PSD-95/Dlg/ZO-1 (PDZ) repeats and another within the alternatively spliced I3 domain. Here, we further define the PDZ-protein 4.1 interaction in vitro and show the functional role of both 4.1 binding sites in situ. A single protease-resistant structure formed by the entirety of both PDZ repeats 1 and 2 (PDZ1-2) contains the protein 4.1-binding site. Both this PDZ1-2 site and the I3 domain associate with a 30-kD NH2-terminal domain of protein 4.1 that is conserved in ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) proteins. We show that both protein 4.1 and the ezrin ERM protein interact with the murine form of hDlg in a coprecipitating immune complex. In permeabilized cells and tissues, either the PDZ1-2 domain or the I3 domain alone are sufficient for proper subcellular targeting of exogenous hDlg. In situ, PDZ1-2-mediated targeting involves interactions with both 4.1/ERM proteins and proteins containing the COOH-terminal T/SXV motif. I3-mediated targeting depends exclusively on interactions with 4.1/ERM proteins. Our data elucidates the multivalent nature of membrane-associated guanylate kinase homologue (MAGUK) targeting, thus beginning to define those protein interactions that are critical in MAGUK function.

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