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Trends Cell Biol. 1999 Jul;9(7):268-73.

Occludin and claudins in tight-junction strands: leading or supporting players?

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Dept of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606, Japan.


Tight junctions have attracted much interest from cell biologists, especially electron microscopists, since on freeze-fracture electron microscopy they appear as a well-developed network of continuous, anastomosing intramembranous strands (tight-junction strands). These strands might be directly involved in the 'barrier' as well as 'fence' functions in epithelial and endothelial cell sheets, but until recently little was known of their constituents. This review discusses current understanding of the molecular architecture of tight-junction strands, focusing on the recent discovery of two distinct types of tight-junction-specific integral membrane proteins, occludin and claudins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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