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J Cell Biol. 1999 May 3;145(3):579-88.

Claudin-11/OSP-based tight junctions of myelin sheaths in brain and Sertoli cells in testis.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606, Japan.


Members of the newly identified claudin gene family constitute tight junction (TJ) strands, which play a pivotal role in compartmentalization in multicellular organisms. We identified oligodendrocyte-specific protein (OSP) as claudin-11, a new claudin family member, due to its sequence similarity to claudins as well as its ability to form TJ strands in transfected fibroblasts. Claudin-11/OSP mRNA was expressed in the brain and testis. Immunofluorescence microscopy with anti-claudin-11/OSP polyclonal antibody (pAb) and anti-neurofilament mAb revealed that in the brain claudin-11/OSP-positive linear structures run in a gentle spiral around neurofilament-positive axons. At the electron microscopic level, these linear structures were identified as the so-called interlamellar strands in myelin sheaths of oligodendrocytes. In testis, well-developed TJ strands of Sertoli cells were specifically labeled with anti-claudin-11/OSP pAb both at immunofluorescence and electron microscopic levels. These findings indicated that the interlamellar strands of oligodendrocyte myelin sheaths can be regarded as a variant of TJ strands found in many other epithelial cells, and that these strands share a specific claudin species, claudin-11/OSP, with those in Sertoli cells to create and maintain the repeated compartments around axons by oligodendrocytes.

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