Guanine nucleotide-binding protein Gαi2: a new partner of claudin-5 that regulates tight junction integrity in human brain endothelial cells

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2012 May;32(5):860-73. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2011.202. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) selectively controls the exchanges between the blood and the brain: it is formed by tight junctions (TJs) between adjacent microvascular endothelial cells. The transmembrane protein claudin-5 is known as a key TJ protein at the BBB, although, the molecular mechanisms by which it regulates TJ tightness are poorly understood. To identify putative claudin-5 partners that contribute to TJ integrity, claudin-5-enriched membrane microdomains were prepared by cell fractionation, using the human brain endothelial cell line hCMEC/D3 and claudin-5 immunoprecipitates were submitted to tandem mass spectrometry. Because a high concentration of mannitol is known to transiently destabilize TJs, this analysis was performed in basal conditions, after mannitol treatment, and after recovery of TJ integrity. We here demonstrate that the G-protein subunit αi2 (Gαi2) interacts with claudin-5 and that association is correlated with TJ integrity in hCMEC/D3 cells; also, a selective expression of Gαi2 is observed in human brain vasculature in situ. Moreover, small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of Gαi2 or claudin-5 in hCMEC/D3 cells similarly increases their paracellular permeability and delays TJ recovery after mannitol treatment. Altogether, our results identify Gαi2 as a novel claudin-5 partner required for TJ integrity in brain endothelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier / cytology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Claudin-5
  • Claudins / genetics
  • Claudins / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunit, Gi2 / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunit, Gi2 / metabolism*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Mannitol / chemistry
  • Membrane Microdomains / genetics
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Tight Junctions / genetics
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism*


  • CLDN5 protein, human
  • Claudin-5
  • Claudins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Mannitol
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunit, Gi2