Dynamics of tight and adherens junctions under EGTA treatment

J Membr Biol. 2002 Jul 15;188(2):151-62. doi: 10.1007/s00232-001-0182-2.


The dynamics of tight junctions (TJs) and adherens junctions (AJs) under EGTA treatment were investigated in Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. Detailed information about the behavior of TJ and AJ proteins during the opening and resealing of TJs and AJs is still scarce. By means of the "calcium chelation" method, the distribution and colocalization of junctional proteins were studied with confocal laser scanning microscopy using a deconvolution algorithm for high-resolution images. Colocalization was analyzed for pairs of the following proteins: ZO-1, occludin, claudin-1, E-cadherin and F-actin. Significant differences were found for the analyzed pairs in control cells compared to EGTA-treated cells with respect to the position of the colocalization maxima within the cell monolayers as well as with respect to the amount of colocalized voxels. Under EGTA treatment, colocalization for ZO-1/occludin, ZO-1/claudin-1, claudin-1/occludin, E-cadherin/occludin and E-cadherin/claudin-1 dropped below 35% of the control value. Only for the ZO-1/E-cadherin pair, the amount of colocalized voxels increased and a shift to a more basal position was observed. During the opening of TJs and AJs, ZO-1 colocalized with E-cadherin in the lateral membrane region, whereas in controls, ZO-1 colocalized with occludin and claudin-1 in the junctional complex. The combination of deconvolution with colocalization analysis of confocal data sets offers a powerful tool to investigate the spatial relationship of TJ and AJ proteins during assembly and disassembly of cell-cell contacts.

MeSH terms

  • Adherens Junctions / drug effects*
  • Adherens Junctions / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dogs
  • Egtazic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tight Junctions / drug effects*
  • Tight Junctions / physiology*


  • Egtazic Acid