Expression and localization of tricellulin in human nasal epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro

Med Mol Morphol. 2009 Dec;42(4):204-11. doi: 10.1007/s00795-009-0470-y. Epub 2009 Dec 24.


Tricellulin was identified as the first marker of the tricellular tight junction, which forms at the meeting points of three cells, and it is required for the maintenance of the transepithelial barrier. Although it is also considered to be important for the mucosal barrier of the upper respiratory tract, little is known about its expression and localization. In the present study, we examined the expression and localization of tricellulin in normal human nasal epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro, especially using primary cultures and telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT)-transfected cells. In human nasal epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro, mRNA and protein of tricellulin were detected. It was localized not only at tricellular contacts but also at bicellular borders, and in part colocalized with occludin. In human nasal epithelium, by immunoelectron microscopy analysis, tricellulin-associated gold particles were observed around the junction-like structure of the uppermost region. By treatment with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS), expression of tricellulin mRNA was weakly increased, whereas that of bicellular tight junction molecules was strongly increased, in real-time PCR. These results suggest that tricellulin is stably expressed in human nasal epithelial cells and may play an important role for the sealing of the corner at tricellular contacts to prevent infiltration by various inhaled viruses and antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells* / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MARVEL Domain Containing 2 Protein
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nasal Mucosa* / cytology
  • Nasal Mucosa* / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Telomerase / genetics
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism*
  • Transfection


  • MARVEL Domain Containing 2 Protein
  • MARVELD2 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Telomerase