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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Heterogeneity of claudin expression by alveolar epithelial cells.

Claudins are proteins that participate in epithelial barrier function and regulate paracellular permeability. By immunohistochemistry of adult rat lung sections, claudin-3, claudin-4, and claudin-5 were found to be co-expressed by type II alveolar epithelial cells. Claudin-3 and claudin-4 were also co-expressed by some alveolar epithelial cells adjacent to type II cells. In contrast, claudin-5 was expressed throughout the alveolus. Isolated primary rat alveolar epithelial cells in culture also expressed claudin-3, claudin-4, and claudin-5, but showed little claudin-1 and claudin-2 expression. Claudin expression by isolated cells at both the mRNA and protein level varied with time in culture. In particular, claudin-3 and claudin-5 co-localized and were distributed around the alveolar cell periphery, but claudin-4 expression was heterogeneous. We also found that paracellular permeability was increased when cultured alveolar epithelial cells were treated with a fatty acid amide, methanandamide. Methanandamide did not alter cell viability. Claudin-3, claudin-4, claudin-5, occludin, and zona occludens 1 remained localized to cell-cell contact sites at the plasma membrane in methanandamide-treated cells, suggesting that plasma membrane localization of these junction proteins is not sufficient for maintaining barrier function. However, methanandamide-treated cells showed a 12-fold increase in claudin-5 expression and a 2- to 3-fold increase in claudin-3, consistent with the notion that specific changes in claudin expression levels may correlate with changes in alveolar epithelial barrier function.[1]


  1. Heterogeneity of claudin expression by alveolar epithelial cells. Wang, F., Daugherty, B., Keise, L.L., Wei, Z., Foley, J.P., Savani, R.C., Koval, M. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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