PLEKHA7 modulates epithelial tight junction barrier function
Serge Paschoud, Lionel Jond, Diego Guerrera and Sandra Citi
PLEKHA7 is a recently identified protein of the epithelial zonula adhaerens (ZA), and is part of a protein complex that stabilizes the ZA, by linking it to microtubules. Since the ZA is important in the assembly and disassembly of tight junctions (TJ), we asked whether PLEKHA7 is involved in modulating epithelial TJ barrier function. We generated clonal MDCK cell lines in which one of four different constructs of PLEKHA7 was inducibly expressed. All constructs were localized at junctions, but constructs lacking the C-terminal region were also distributed diffusely in the cytoplasm. Inducible expression of PLEKHA7 constructs did not affect the expression and localization of TJ proteins, the steady-state value of transepithelial resistance (TER), the development of TER during the calcium switch, and the flux of large molecules across confluent monolayers. In contrast, expression of three out of four constructs resulted both in enhanced recruitment of E-cadherin and associated proteins at the apical ZA and at lateral puncta adherentia (PA), a decreased TER at 18 h after assembly at normal calcium, and an attenuation in the fall in TER after extracellular calcium removal. This latter effect was inhibited when cells were treated with nocodazole. Immunoprecipitation analysis showed that PLEKHA7 forms a complex with the cytoplasmic TJ proteins ZO-1 and cingulin, and this association does not depend on the integrity of microtubules. These results suggest that PLEKHA7 modulates the dynamics of assembly and disassembly of the TJ barrier, through E-cadherin protein complex- and microtubule-dependent mechanisms.
Blood-brain barrier regulation: Environmental cues controlling the onset of barrier properties
Mark Ronald Mizee and Helga Eveline de Vries
The existence of a barrier between the central nervous system (CNS) and the systemic circulation has been described over one hundred years ago. Since the discovery that this barrier was instigated by the barrier properties of the brain endothelial cells, research has focused on the identification of pathways how the brain endothelial cells are instructed to form the highly specialized blood-brain barrier (BBB). Even though our current understanding of BBB development is far from complete, recent literature shows a rise in knowledge of CNS-specific cues that can drive BBB development.
In this commentary, we will provide a brief overview of brain selective factors that are critical in the development of barrier properties in the brain endothelium; in particular the role of retinoic acid will be discussed.
Small GTPases of the Ras superfamily regulate intestinal epithelial homeostasis and barrier function via common and unique mechanisms
Alí Citalán-Madrid, Alexander García-Ponce, Hilda Vargas-Robles, Abigail Betanzos and Michael Schnoor
The intestinal epithelium forms a stable barrier protecting underlying tissues from pathogens in the gut lumen. This is achieved by specialized integral membrane structures such as tight and adherens junctions that connect neighboring cells and provide stabilizing links to the cytoskeleton. Junctions are constantly remodeled to respond to extracellular stimuli. Assembly and disassembly of junctions is regulated by interplay of actin remodeling, endocytotic recycling of junctional proteins, and various signaling pathways. Accumulating evidence implicate small G proteins of the Ras superfamily as important signaling molecules for the regulation of epithelial junctions. They function as molecular switches circling between an inactive GDP-bound and an active GTP-bound state. Once activated, they bind different effector molecules to control cellular processes required for correct junction assembly, maintenance and remodelling. Here, we review recent advances in understanding how GTPases of the Rho, Ras, Rab and Arf families contribute to intestinal epithelial homeostasis.
Claudin family members exhibit unique temporal and spatial expression boundaries in the chick embryo
Michelle M Collins, Amanda I Baumholtz and Aimee K Ryan
The claudin family of proteins are integral components of tight junctions and are responsible for determining the ion specificity and permeability of paracellular transport within epithelial and endothelial cell layers. Several members of the claudin family have been shown to be important during embryonic development and morphogenesis. However, detailed embryonic expression patterns have been described for only a few claudins. Here, we provide a phylogenetic analysis of the chicken claudins and a comprehensive analysis of their mRNA expression profiles. We found that claudin family members exhibit both overlapping and unique expression patterns throughout development. Especially striking were the distinct expression boundaries observed between neural and non-neural ectoderm, as well as within ectodermal derivatives. Claudins were also expressed in endodermally-derived tissues, including the anterior intestinal portal, pharynx, lung and pancreas and in mesodermally derived tissues such as the kidney, gonad and heart. The overlapping zones of claudin expression observed in the chick embryo may confer distinct domains of ion permeability within the early epiblast and in epithelial, mesodermal and endothelial derivatives that may ultimately influence embryonic patterning and morphogenesis during development.
Ex vivo effect of gold nanoparticles on porcine synovial membrane
Raphael Labens, B. Duncan X. Lascelles, Anna N. Charlton, Nicole R. Ferrero, Arnaud J. Van Wettere, Xin-Riu Xia and Anthony T. Blikslager
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have great potential as carriers for local drug delivery and as a primary therapeutic for treatment of inflammation. Here we report on the AuNP-synovium interaction in an ex vivo model of intra-articular application for treatment of joint inflammation. Sheets of porcine femoropatellar synovium were obtained post mortem and each side of the tissue samples was maintained in a separate fluid environment. Permeability to AuNPs of different sizes (5−52 nm) and biomarker levels of inflammation were determined to characterize the ex vivo particle interaction with the synovium. Lipopolysaccharide or recombinant human interleukin-1β were added to fluid environments to assess the ex vivo effect of pro-inflammatory factors on permeability and biomarker levels. The synovium showed size selective permeability with only 5 nm AuNPs effectively permeating the entire tissues’ width. This process was further governed by particle stability in the fluid environment. AuNPs reduced matrix metalloproteinase and lactate dehydrogenase activity and hyaluronic acid concentrations but had no effect on prostaglandin E2 levels. Exposure to pro-inflammatory factors did not significantly affect AuNP permeation or biomarker levels in this model. Results with ex vivo tissue modeling of porcine synovium support an anti-inflammatory effect of AuNPs warranting further investigation.