Tight junctions form an important barrier of paracellular transport in epithelial cells. Sealing of two adjacent cells at bicellular tight junctions, a point where three adjacent cells are in contact with each other. Tricellulin is the first protein identified that specifically concentrates in tricellular tight junctions. This protein has four membrane spanning domains, similarly to claudins. Tricellulin expression is high in epithelium-derived tissues, such as small intestine, kidney and lung. Functional evidence for the role of tricellulin in tight junction formation comes from siRNA studies, where suppression of its expression leads to compromised epithelial barrier and tight junction formation. Loss of function in tricellulin mutants missing all or most of a conserved region in the cytosolic domain which binds to the cytosolic scaffolding protein ZO-1, indicate that interaction with other known tight junction proteins plays an important role for the function of tricellulin.
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