Claudins (Cldn) are essential membrane proteins of tight junctions (TJs), which form the paracellular permselective barrier. They are produced by a multi-gene family of 24 reported members in mouse and human. Based on a comprehensive search combined with phylogenetic analyses, we identified three novel claudins (claudin-25, -26, and -27). Quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the three novel claudins were expressed in a tissue- and/or developmental stage-dependent manner. Claudins-25 and -26, but not claudin-27, were immunofluorescently localized to TJs when exogenously expressed in cultured MDCK and Eph epithelial cell lines. These findings expand the claudin family to include at least 27 members.
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