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Claudin-5a in developing zebrafish brain barriers: another brick in the wall



Claudins serve essential roles in regulating paracellular permeability properties within occluding junctions. Recent studies have begun to elucidate developmental roles of claudins within immature tissues. This work has uncovered an involvement of several claudins in determining tight junction properties that have an effect on embryonic morphogenesis and physiology. During zebrafish brain morphogenesis, Claudin-5a determines the paracellular permeability of tight junctions within a transient neuroepithelial-ventricular barrier that maintains the hydrostatic fluid pressure required for brain ventricular lumen expansion. However, the roles of Claudins in development may well extend beyond being mere junctional components. Several post-translational modifications of Claudins have been characterized that indicate a direct regulation by developmental signals. This review focuses on the involvement of Claudin-5a in cerebral barrier formation in the zebrafish embryo and includes some speculations about possible modes of regulation.