Dynamic distribution of claudin proteins in pancreatic epithelia undergoing morphogenesis or neoplastic transformation.


The assembly of distinct proteins into tight junctions results in the formation of a continuous barrier that regulates the paracellular flux of water, ions, and small molecules across epithelia. The claudin protein family encompasses numerous major structural components of tight junctions. These proteins specify the permeability characteristics of tight junctions and consequently, some of the physiological properties of epithelia. Furthermore, defective claudin expression has been found to correlate with some diseases, tumor progression, and defective morphogenesis. Investigating the pattern of claudin expression during embryogenesis or in certain pathological conditions is necessary to begin disclosing the role of these proteins in health and disease.