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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Mar;1778(3):646-59. Epub 2007 Aug 24.

Structural organization of the tight junctions.

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Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milano, Italy.


Tight junctions are the most apical organelle of the apical junctional complex and are primarily involved in the regulation of paracellular permeability and membrane polarity. Extensive research in the past two decades has identified not only the individual molecules of the tight junctions but also their mutual interactions, which are the focus of the present review article. While a complete map of the interactions among the tight junction molecules is probably far from being complete, the available evidence already allows outlining the general molecular architecture of the tight junctions. Here, with the aim of gaining deeper mechanistic understanding of tight junction assembly, regulation and function, we have subdivided the known molecular interactions into four major clusters that are centered on cell surface, polarity, cytoskeletal and signaling molecules.

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