Assembly of tight junctions during early vertebrate development

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2000 Aug;11(4):291-9. doi: 10.1006/scdb.2000.0179.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Cleavage Stage, Ovum / physiology*
  • Cleavage Stage, Ovum / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphoproteins / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Tight Junctions / physiology*
  • Tight Junctions / ultrastructure
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Zonula Occludens-1 Protein


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • TJP1 protein, Xenopus
  • Tjp1 protein, mouse
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Zonula Occludens-1 Protein