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Annu Rev Physiol. 1998;60:161-77.

Role of tight junctions in establishing and maintaining cell polarity.

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Center for Research and Advanced Studies, México.


The tight junction (TJ) is not randomly located on the cell membrane, but occupies a precise position at the outermost edge of the intercellular space and, therefore, is itself considered a polarized structure. This article reviews the most common experimental approaches for studying this relationship. We then discuss three main topics. (a) The mechanisms of polarization that operate regardless of the presence of TJs: We explore a variety of polarization mechanisms that operate at stages of the cell cycle in which TJs may be already established. (b) TJs and polarity as partners in highly dynamic processes: Polarity and TJs are steady state situations that may be drastically changed by a variety of signaling events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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