Glucocorticoid hormones, which are physiological regulators of mammary epithelium development, induce the formation of tight junctions in rat Con8 mammary epithelial tumor cells. We have discovered that, as part of this process, the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone strongly and reversibly down-regulated the expression of fascin, an actin-bundling protein that also interacts with the adherens junction component beta-catenin. Ectopic constitutive expression of full-length mouse fascin containing a Myc epitope tag (Myc-fascin) in Con8 cells inhibited the dexamethasone stimulation of transepithelial electrical resistance, disrupted the induced localization of the tight junction protein occludin and the adherens junction protein beta-catenin to the cell periphery, and prevented the rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. Ectopic expression of either the carboxyl-terminal 213 amino acids of fascin, which includes the actin and beta-catenin-binding sites, or the amino-terminal 313 amino acids of fascin failed to disrupt the glucocorticoid induction of tight junction formation. Mammary tumor cells expressing the full-length Myc-fascin remained generally glucocorticoid responsive and displayed no changes in the levels or protein-protein interactions of junctional proteins or the amount of cytoskeletal associated actin filaments. However, a cell aggregation assay demonstrated that the expression of Myc-fascin abrogated the dexamethasone induction of cell-cell adhesion. Our results implicate the down-regulation of fascin as a key intermediate step that directly links glucocorticoid receptor signaling to the coordinate control of junctional complex formation and cell-cell interactions in mammary tumor epithelial cells.