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Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2008 Sep;17(5):506-12. doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e32830baaae.

Epithelial junctions and polarity: complexes and kinases.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06525-8026, USA. Michael.caplan@yale.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

An enormous body of research has been focused on exploring the mechanisms through which epithelial cells establish their characteristic polarity. It is clear that under normal circumstances cell-cell contacts mediated by the calcium-dependent adhesion proteins of the intercellular adhesion junctions are required to initiate complete polarization. Furthermore, formation of the tight, or occluding, junctions that limit paracellular permeability has long been thought to help to establish polarity by preventing the diffusion of membrane proteins between the two plasmalemmal domains. This review will discuss several selected kinases and protein complexes and highlight their relevance to transporting epithelial cell polarization.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Recent work has shed new light on the roles of junctional complexes in establishing and maintaining epithelial cell polarity. In addition, work from several laboratories suggests that the formation of these junctions is tied to processes that regulate cellular energy metabolism.

SUMMARY:

Junctional complexes and energy sensing kinases constitute a novel class of machinery whose capacity to generate and modulate epithelial cell polarity is likely to have wide ranging and important physiological ramifications.

PMID:
18695392
PMCID:
PMC3057677
DOI:
10.1097/MNH.0b013e32830baaae
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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