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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Nov;19(11):4687-93. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E08-05-0530. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

Loss of occludin affects tricellular localization of tricellulin.

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Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


The tricellular tight junction (tTJ) forms at the convergence of bicellular tight junctions (bTJs) where three epithelial cells meet in polarized epithelia, and it is required for the maintenance of the transepithelial barrier. Tricellulin is a four transmembrane domain protein recently identified as the first marker of tTJ, but little is known about how tricellulin is localized at tTJs. As for the molecular mechanism of association of tricellulin with tight junctions (TJs), we found that tricellulin was incorporated into claudin-based TJs independently of binding to zona occludens-1. Unexpectedly, exogenous expression of tricellulin increased cross-links of TJ strands in the plasma membrane. As for the molecular mechanisms for localization of tricellulin at tricellular junctions, we found that knockdown of occludin caused mislocalization of tricellulin to bTJs, implying that occludin supports tricellular localization of tricellulin by excluding tricellulin from bTJs.

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