Tight junction formation during development is critical for embryonic patterning and organization. We consider mechanisms of junction biogenesis in cleaving mouse and Xenopus eggs. Junction assembly follows the establishment of cell polarity at 8-cell (mouse) or 2-cell (Xenopus) stages, characterized by sequential membrane delivery of constituents, coordinated by embryonic (mouse) or maternal (Xenopus) expression programmes. Cadherin adhesion is permissive for tight junction construction only in the mouse. Occludin post-translational modification and membrane delivery, mediated by delayed ZO-1 alpha(+)isoform expression in the mouse, provides a mechanism for completion of tight junction biogenesis and sealing, regulating the timing of blastocoel cavitation.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.