Modulation of tight junction structure and function by kinases and phosphatases targeting occludin

J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:807356. doi: 10.1155/2012/807356. Epub 2012 Jan 23.


Tight junctions (TJs) typically represent the most apical contacts in epithelial and endothelial cell layers where they play an essential role in the separation of extracellular or luminal spaces from underlying tissues in the body. Depending on the protein composition, TJs define the barrier characteristics and in addition maintain cell polarity. Two major families of integral membrane proteins form the typical TJ strand network, the tight junction-associated MARVEL protein (TAMP) family members occludin, tricellulin, and MarvelD3 as well as a specific set of claudins. Occludin was the first identified member of these tetraspanins and is now widely accepted as a regulator of TJ assembly and function. Therefore, occludin itself has to be tightly regulated. Phosphorylation of occludin appears to be of central importance in this context. Here we want to summarize current knowledge on the kinases and phosphatases directly modifying occludin, and their role in the regulation of TJ structure, function, and dynamics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Occludin
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Phosphotransferases / metabolism*
  • Tight Junctions / enzymology*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • OCLN protein, human
  • Occludin
  • Phosphotransferases
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases