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Am J Physiol. 1999 Oct;277(4 Pt 2):F524-32.

A role for intracellular calcium in tight junction reassembly after ATP depletion-repletion.

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  • 1Renal Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The integrity of the tight junction (TJ), which is responsible for the permeability barrier of the polarized epithelium, is disrupted during ischemic injury and must be reestablished for recovery. Recently, with the use of an ATP depletion-repletion model for ischemia and reperfusion injury in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells, TJ proteins such as zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) were shown to reversibly form large complexes and associate with cytoskeletal proteins (T. Tsukamoto and S. K. Nigam, J. Biol. Chem. 272: 16133-16139, 1997). In this study, we examined the role of intracellular calcium in TJ reassembly after ATP depletion-repletion by employing the cell-permeant calcium chelator 1, 2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid-AM (BAPTA-AM). Lowering intracellular calcium during ATP depletion is associated with significant inhibition of the reestablishment of the permeability barrier following ATP repletion as measured by transepithelial electrical resistance and mannitol flux, marked alterations in the subcellular localization of occludin by immunofluorescent analysis, and decreased solubility of ZO-1 and other TJ proteins by Triton X-100 extraction assay, suggesting that lowering intracellular calcium potentiates the interaction of TJ proteins with the cytoskeleton. Coimmunoprecipitation studies indicated that decreased solubility may partly result from the stabilization of large TJ protein-containing complexes with fodrin. Although ionic detergents (SDS and deoxycholate) appeared to cause a dissociation of ZO-1-containing complexes from the cytoskeleton, sucrose gradient analyses of the solubilized proteins suggested that calcium chelation leads to self-association of these complexes. Together, these results raise the possibility that intracellular calcium plays an important facilitatory role in the reassembly of the TJ damaged by ischemic insults. Calcium appears to be necessary for the dissociation of TJ-cytoskeletal complexes, thus permitting functional TJ reassembly and paracellular permeability barrier recovery.

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