Tight junctions and cell polarity

Kunyoo Shin, Vanessa C. Fogg, Ben Margolis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

577 Scopus citations


The tight junction is an intracellular functional structure that mediates adhesion between epithelial cells and is required for epithelial cell function. Tight junctions control paracellular permeability across epithelial cell sheets and also serve as a barrier to intramembrane diffusion of components between a cell's apical and basolateral membrane domains. Recent genetic and biochemical studies in invertebrates and vertebrates indicate that tight junction proteins play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of apico-basal polarity. Proteins involved in epithelial cell polarization form evolutionarily conserved multiprotein complexes at the tight junction, and these protein complexes regulate the architecture of epithelia throughout the polarization process. Accumulating information regarding the regulation of these polarity proteins will lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms whereby cell polarity is established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
EditorsRandy Schekman, Larry Goldstein, Janet Rossant
Number of pages29
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
ISSN (Print)1081-0706


  • CRB complex
  • Epithelial polarity
  • Par complex
  • Tight junction proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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