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Exp Cell Res. 2000 Jun 15;257(2):238-44.

Uncoupling of gate and fence functions of MDCK cells by the actin-depolymerizing reagent mycalolide B.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, S1W17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, 060-8556, Japan.


The tight junction serves as a paracellular gate to seal the paracellular space of apposing cells and as a molecular fence to prevent diffusion of membrane proteins and lipids in epithelial cells. Although involvement of the actin cytoskeleton has been considered to be important in these two functions, it remains to be elucidated whether both functions are regulated in a coupled manner or differentially by actin. Treatment of highly polarized MDCK cells with mycalolide B (MB), a recently developed actin-depolymerizing reagent, induced a decrease of transepithelial resistance in a dose- and time-dependent manner with reversibility when the reagent was washed out. Changes in cytoskeletal actin, such as a reduction of cortical actin, irregularity of stress fibers, and punctated actin aggregates, were observed after MB treatment. However, the fence function, as studied by diffusion of apically labeled sphingomyelin/BSA complex, remained intact in the MB-treated MDCK cells. Localization of junctional molecules and apical marker proteins such as E-cadherin, ZO-1, and 114-kDa protein was shown to be unaffected. Furthermore, freeze-fracture study showed apparent tight junction strands. Collectively, MB treatment abolished the paracellular gate but not the fence function of MDCK cells, suggesting that cytoskeletal actin may play differential roles in the gate and fence functions of the tight junction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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