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Exp Cell Res. 2005 Oct 15;310(1):66-78.

Behavior of tight-junction, adherens-junction and cell polarity proteins during HNF-4alpha-induced epithelial polarization.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, South-1, West-17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-8556, Japan.


We previously reported that expression of tight-junction molecules occludin, claudin-6 and claudin-7, as well as establishment of epithelial polarity, was triggered in mouse F9 cells expressing hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4alpha [H. Chiba, T. Gotoh, T. Kojima, S. Satohisa, K. Kikuchi, M. Osanai, N. Sawada. Hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4alpha triggers formation of functional tight junctions and establishment of polarized epithelial morphology in F9 embryonal carcinoma cells, Exp. Cell Res. 286 (2003) 288-297]. Using these cells, we examined in the present study behavior of tight-junction, adherens-junction and cell polarity proteins and elucidated the molecular mechanism behind HNF-4alpha-initiated junction formation and epithelial polarization. We herein show that not only ZO-1 and ZO-2, but also ZO-3, junctional adhesion molecule (JAM)-B, JAM-C and cell polarity proteins PAR-3, PAR-6 and atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) accumulate at primordial adherens junctions in undifferentiated F9 cells. In contrast, CRB3, Pals1 and PATJ appeared to exhibit distinct subcellular localization in immature cells. Induced expression of HNF-4alpha led to translocation of these tight-junction and cell polarity proteins to beltlike tight junctions, where occludin, claudin-6 and claudin-7 were assembled, in differentiated cells. Interestingly, PAR-6, aPKC, CRB3 and Pals1, but not PAR-3 or PATJ, were also concentrated on the apical membranes in differentiated cells. These findings indicate that HNF-4alpha provokes not only expression of tight-junction adhesion molecules, but also modulation of subcellular distribution of junction and cell polarity proteins, resulting in junction formation and epithelial polarization.

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