Epithelial and/or endothelial barriers play a critical role in animal, including human, life forms. The tight junction (TJ) is an essential component of these barriers. Occludin is a major component of the TJ. The structure of occludin, including its gene splice variants and protein essential components have been elucidated. Phosphorylation/dephosphorylation plays a major role in regulation of occludin and TJ. Disruption of occludin regulation is an important aspect of a number of diseases. Strategies to prevent and/or reverse occludin downregulation may be an important therapeutic target.