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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jun 14;277(24):21361-70. Epub 2002 Apr 4.

Cloning of the human claudin-2 5'-flanking region revealed a TATA-less promoter with conserved binding sites in mouse and human for caudal-related homeodomain proteins and hepatocyte nuclear factor-1alpha.

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Gastrointestinal Unit, Department of Medicine, Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Claudin-2 is a structural component of tight junctions in the kidneys, liver, and intestine, but the mechanisms regulating its expression have not been defined. The 5'-flanking region of the claudin-2 gene contains binding sites for intestine-specific Cdx homeodomain proteins and hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-1, which are conserved in human and mouse. Both Cdx1 and Cdx2 activated the claudin-2 promoter in the human intestinal epithelial cell line Caco-2. HNF-1alpha augmented the Cdx2-induced but not Cdx1-induced transcriptional activation of the human claudin-2 promoter. In mice, HNF-1alpha was required for claudin-2 expression in the villus epithelium of the ileum and within the liver but not in the kidneys, indicating an organ-specific function of HNF-1alpha in the regulation of claudin-2 gene expression. Tight junction structural components, which determine epithelial polarization and intestinal barrier function, can be regulated by homeodomain proteins that control the differentiation of the intestinal epithelium.

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