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J Cell Biol. 1999 Oct 4;147(1):185-94.

Endothelial claudin: claudin-5/TMVCF constitutes tight junction strands in endothelial cells.

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


Tight junctions (TJs) in endothelial cells are thought to determine vascular permeability. Recently, claudin-1 to -15 were identified as major components of TJ strands. Among these, claudin-5 (also called transmembrane protein deleted in velo-cardio-facial syndrome [TMVCF]) was expressed ubiquitously, even in organs lacking epithelial tissues, suggesting the possible involvement of this claudin species in endothelial TJs. We then obtained a claudin-6-specific polyclonal antibody and a polyclonal antibody that recognized both claudin-5/TMVCF and claudin-6. In the brain and lung, immunofluorescence microscopy with these polyclonal antibodies showed that claudin-5/TMVCF was exclusively concentrated at cell-cell borders of endothelial cells of all segments of blood vessels, but not at those of epithelial cells. Immunoreplica electron microscopy revealed that claudin-5/TMVCF was a component of TJ strands. In contrast, in the kidney, the claudin-5/TMVCF signal was restricted to endothelial cells of arteries, but was undetectable in those of veins and capillaries. In addition, in all other tissues we examined, claudin-5/TMVCF was specifically detected in endothelial cells of some segments of blood vessels, but not in epithelial cells. Furthermore, when claudin-5/TMVCF cDNA was introduced into mouse L fibroblasts, TJ strands were reconstituted that resembled those in endothelial cells in vivo, i.e., the extracellular face-associated TJs. These findings indicated that claudin-5/TMVCF is an endothelial cell-specific component of TJ strands.

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