Claudin-21 has a paracellular channel role at tight junctions

Hiroo Tanaka, Yasuko Yamamoto, Hiroka Kashihara, Yuji Yamazaki, Kazutoshi Tani, Yoshinori Fujiyoshi, Katsuhiko Mineta, Kosei Takeuchi, Atsushi Tamura, Sachiko Tsukita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Claudin protein family members, of which there are at least 27 in humans and mice, polymerize to form tight junctions (TJs) between epithelial cells, in a tissue- and developmental stage-specific manner. Claudins have a paracellular barrier function. In addition, certain claudins function as paracellular channels for small ions and/or solutes by forming selective pores at the TJs, although the specific claudins involved and their functional mechanisms are still in question. Here we show for the first time that claudin-21, which is more highly expressed in the embryonic than the postnatal stages, acts as a paracellular channel for small cations, such as Na+, similar to the typical channel-type claudins claudin-2 and -15. Claudin-21 also allows the paracellular passage of larger solutes. Our findings suggest that claudin-21-based TJs allow the passage of small and larger solutes by both paracellular channel-based and some additional mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-964
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Claudin-21 has a paracellular channel role at tight junctions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Tanaka, H., Yamamoto, Y., Kashihara, H., Yamazaki, Y., Tani, K., Fujiyoshi, Y., Mineta, K., Takeuchi, K., Tamura, A., & Tsukita, S. (2016). Claudin-21 has a paracellular channel role at tight junctions. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 36(6), 954-964.