The cytoplasmic plaque of tight junctions: a scaffolding and signalling center

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Mar;1778(3):601-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2007.09.032. Epub 2007 Oct 9.


The region of cytoplasm underlying the tight junction (TJ) contains several multimolecular protein complexes, which are involved in scaffolding of membrane proteins, regulation of cytoskeletal organization, establishment of polarity, and signalling to and from the nucleus. In this review, we summarize some of the most recent advances in understanding the identity of these proteins, their domain organization, their protein interactions, and their functions in vertebrate organisms. Analysis of knockdown and knockout model systems shows that several TJ proteins are essential for the formation of epithelial tissues and early embryonic development, whereas others appear to have redundant functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasm / chemistry
  • Cytoplasm / genetics
  • Cytoplasm / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / chemistry
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • PDZ Domains
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tight Junctions / chemistry
  • Tight Junctions / genetics
  • Tight Junctions / physiology*


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins