Cell Structure and Function
Online ISSN : 1347-3700
Print ISSN : 0386-7196
ISSN-L : 0386-7196
Reconstitution of functional tight junctions with individual claudin subtypes in epithelial cells
Mikio FuruseDaiki NakatsuWendy HempstockShiori SugiokaNoriko IshizukaKyoko FuruseTaichi SugawaraYugo FukazawaHisayoshi Hayashi
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2023 Volume 48 Issue 1 Pages 1-17


The claudin family of membrane proteins is responsible for the backbone structure and function of tight junctions (TJs), which regulate the paracellular permeability of epithelia. It is thought that each claudin subtype has its own unique function and the combination of expressed subtypes determines the permeability property of each epithelium. However, many issues remain unsolved in regard to claudin functions, including the detailed functional differences between claudin subtypes and the effect of the combinations of specific claudin subtypes on the structure and function of TJs. To address these issues, it would be useful to have a way of reconstituting TJs containing only the claudin subtype(s) of interest in epithelial cells. In this study, we attempted to reconstitute TJs of individual claudin subtypes in TJ-deficient MDCK cells, designated as claudin quinKO cells, which were previously established from MDCK II cells by deleting the genes of claudin-1, -2, -3, -4, and -7. Exogenous expression of each of claudin-1, -2, -3, -4, and -7 in claudin quinKO cells resulted in the reconstitution of functional TJs. These TJs did not contain claudin-12 and -16, which are endogenously expressed in claudin quinKO cells. Furthermore, overexpression of neither claudin-12 nor claudin-16 resulted in the reconstitution of TJs, demonstrating the existence of claudin subtypes lacking TJ-forming activity in epithelial cells. Exogenous expression of the channel-forming claudin-2, -10a, -10b, and -15 reconstituted TJs with reported paracellular channel properties, demonstrating that these claudin subtypes form paracellular channels by themselves without interaction with other subtypes. Thus, the reconstitution of TJs in claudin quinKO cells is advantageous for further investigation of claudin functions.

Key words: tight junction, claudin, paracellular permeability, epithelial barrier

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