Cingulin, a new peripheral component of tight junctions

Nature. 1988 May 19;333(6170):272-6. doi: 10.1038/333272a0.


The tight junction (Zonula occludens), a belt-like region of contact between cells of polarized epithelia, serves as a selective barrier to small molecules and as a total barrier to large molecules, and is involved in the separation between lumenal and basolateral compartments of the epithelium. In the electron microscope, tight junctions show focal regions of apparent fusion between the adjoining cell membranes, and freeze-fractured membranes display an elaborate network of branching and anastomosing strands. Very little is known about the molecular composition and architecture of tight junctions. The first specific zonula occludens-associated protein, designated ZO-1, has recently been identified in mammalian epithelial and endothelial cells. Here we describe the identification and purification of a new component of this junctional complex in avian brush-border cells, which we name cingulin. Cingulin is an acidic, heat-stable protein, with a highly elongated shape. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy of brush-border cells with anti-cingulin antibodies show that cingulin is localized in the apical zone of the terminal web, at the endofacial surfaces of the zonula occludens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Chickens
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure*
  • Intestines / ultrastructure
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microvilli / ultrastructure
  • Molecular Weight


  • Amino Acids
  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Membrane Proteins