Structural features of tight-junction proteins


  • U. Heinemann
  • A. Schuetz


  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences


  • Int J Mol Sci 20 (23): 6020


  • Tight junctions are complex supramolecular entities composed of integral membrane proteins, membrane-associated and soluble cytoplasmic proteins engaging in an intricate and dynamic system of protein-protein interactions. Three-dimensional structures of several tight-junction proteins or their isolated domains have been determined by X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and cryo-electron microscopy. These structures provide direct insight into molecular interactions that contribute to the formation, integrity, or function of tight junctions. In addition, the known experimental structures have allowed the modeling of ligand-binding events involving tight-junction proteins. Here, we review the published structures of tight-junction proteins. We show that these proteins are composed of a limited set of structural motifs and highlight common types of interactions between tight-junction proteins and their ligands involving these motifs.