Regulation of epithelial permeability by the actin cytoskeleton

Authors

  • Laurel S. Rodgers,

    1. Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB7545, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Alan S. Fanning

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB7545, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    • Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB7545, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7545
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  • Monitoring Editor: Pekka Lappalainen

Abstract

The actin cytoskeleton is a dynamic structure necessary for cell and tissue organization, including the maintenance of epithelial barriers. The epithelial barrier regulates the movement of ions, macromolecules, immune cells, and pathogens, and is thus essential for normal organ function. Disruption in the epithelial barrier has been shown to coincide with alterations of the actin cytoskeleton in several disease states. These disruptions primarily manifest as increased movement through the paracellular space, which is normally regulated by tight junctions (TJ). Despite extensive research demonstrating a direct link between the actin cytoskeleton and epithelial permeability, our understanding of the physiological mechanisms that link permeability and tight junction structure are still limited. In this review, we explore the role of the actin cytoskeleton at TJ and present several areas for future study. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc

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