Tight junction proteins: from barrier to tumorigenesis

Cancer Lett. 2013 Aug 28;337(1):41-8. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.05.038. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


The tight junction is a multi-protein complex and is the apical most junctional complex in certain epithelial and endothelial cells. A great deal of attention has been devoted to the understanding of these proteins in contributing to the barrier function - that is, regulating the paracellular flux or permeability between adjacent cells. However, tight junction proteins are now recognized as having functions beyond the barrier. The focus of this review is to discuss the barrier function of the tight junction and to summarize the literature with a focus on the role of tight junction proteins in proliferation, transformation, and metastasis.

Keywords: Cancer; Claudin; Metastasis; Occludin; Tight junction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Claudins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Occludin / physiology
  • Tight Junction Proteins / physiology*
  • Tight Junctions / physiology
  • Zonula Occludens-1 Protein / physiology


  • Claudins
  • Occludin
  • TJP1 protein, human
  • Tight Junction Proteins
  • Zonula Occludens-1 Protein