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      Assembly of Tight Junction Strands: Claudin-10b and Claudin-3 Form Homo-Tetrameric Building Blocks that Polymerise in a Channel-Independent Manner

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          Tight junctions: from simple barriers to multifunctional molecular gates.

          Epithelia and endothelia separate different tissue compartments and protect multicellular organisms from the outside world. This requires the formation of tight junctions, selective gates that control paracellular diffusion of ions and solutes. Tight junctions also form the border between the apical and basolateral plasma-membrane domains and are linked to the machinery that controls apicobasal polarization. Additionally, signalling networks that guide diverse cell behaviours and functions are connected to tight junctions, transmitting information to and from the cytoskeleton, nucleus and different cell adhesion complexes. Recent advances have broadened our understanding of the molecular architecture and cellular functions of tight junctions.
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            Structure and function of claudins.

            Claudins are tetraspan transmembrane proteins of tight junctions. They determine the barrier properties of this type of cell-cell contact existing between the plasma membranes of two neighbouring cells, such as occurring in endothelia or epithelia. Claudins can completely tighten the paracellular cleft for solutes, and they can form paracellular ion pores. It is assumed that the extracellular loops specify these claudin functions. It is hypothesised that the larger first extracellular loop is critical for determining the paracellular tightness and the selective ion permeability. The shorter second extracellular loop may cause narrowing of the paracellular cleft and have a holding function between the opposing cell membranes. Sequence analysis of claudins has led to differentiation into two groups, designated as classic claudins (1-10, 14, 15, 17, 19) and non-classic claudins (11-13, 16, 18, 20-24), according to their degree of sequence similarity. This is also reflected in the derived sequence-structure function relationships for extracellular loops 1 and 2. The concepts evolved from these findings and first tentative molecular models for homophilic interactions may explain the different functional contribution of the two extracellular loops at tight junctions.
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              A Single Gene Product, Claudin-1 or -2, Reconstitutes Tight Junction Strands and Recruits Occludin in Fibroblasts

              Three integral membrane proteins, clau- din-1, -2, and occludin, are known to be components of tight junction (TJ) strands. To examine their ability to form TJ strands, their cDNAs were introduced into mouse L fibroblasts lacking TJs. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that both FLAG-tagged claudin-1 and -2 were highly concentrated at cell contact sites as planes through a homophilic interaction. In freeze-fracture replicas of these contact sites, well-developed networks of strands were identified that were similar to TJ strand networks in situ and were specifically labeled with anti-FLAG mAb. In glutaraldehyde-fixed samples, claudin-1–induced strands were largely associated with the protoplasmic (P) face as mostly continuous structures, whereas claudin-2–induced strands were discontinuous at the P face with complementary grooves at the extracellular (E) face which were occupied by chains of particles. Although occludin was also concentrated at cell contact sites as dots through its homophilic interaction, freeze-fracture replicas identified only a small number of short strands that were labeled with anti-occludin mAb. However, when occludin was cotransfected with claudin-1, it was concentrated at cell contact sites as planes to be incorporated into well- developed claudin-1–based strands. These findings suggested that claudin-1 and -2 are mainly responsible for TJ strand formation, and that occludin is an accessory protein in some function of TJ strands.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Molecular Biology
                Journal of Molecular Biology
                Elsevier BV
                00222836
                March 2020
                March 2020
                : 432
                : 7
                : 2405-2427
                Article
                10.1016/j.jmb.2020.02.034
                © 2020

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