Tricellulin constitutes a novel barrier at tricellular contacts of epithelial cells

Junichi Ikenouchi, Mikio Furuse, Kyoko Furuse, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Sachiko Tsukita, Shoichiro Tsukita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

631 Citations (Scopus)


For epithelia to function as barriers, the intercellular space must be sealed. Sealing two adjacent cells at bicellular tight junctions (bTJs) is well described with the discovery of the claudins. Yet, there are still barrier weak points at tricellular contacts, where three cells join together. In this study, we identify tricellulin, the first integral membrane protein that is concentrated at the vertically oriented TJ strands of tricellular contacts. When tricellulin expression was suppressed with RNA interference, the epithelial barrier was compromised, and tricellular contacts and bTJs were disorganized. These findings indicate the critical function of tricellulin for formation of the epithelial barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)939-945
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 19 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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