Claudins are tight junction integral membrane proteins that are key regulators of the paracellular pathway. Defects in claudin-16 (CLDN16) and CLDN19 function result in the inherited human renal disorder familial hypomagnesemia with hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis (FHHNC). Previous studies showed that siRNA knockdown of CLDN16 in mice results in a mouse model for FHHNC. Here, we show that CLDN19-siRNA mice also developed the FHHNC symptoms of chronic renal wasting of magnesium and calcium together with defective renal salt handling. siRNA knockdown of CLDN19 caused a loss of CLDN16 from tight junctions in the thick ascending limb (TAL) without a decrease in CLDN16 expression level, whereas siRNA knockdown of CLDN16 produced a similar effect on CLDN19. In both mouse lines, CLDN10, CLDN18, occludin, and ZO-1, normal constituents of TAL tight junctions, remained correctly localized. CLDN16- and CLDN19-depleted tight junctions had normal barrier function but defective ion selectivity. These data, together with yeast two-hybrid binding studies, indicate that a heteromeric CLDN16 and CLDN19 interaction was required for assembling them into the tight junction structure and generating cation-selective paracellular channels.