• tight junction;
  • claudin;
  • tubulogenesis;
  • submandibular gland


Here, we investigated the expression of the claudin family of tight junction transmembrane proteins in the developing mouse submandibular gland. Data obtained by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and immunofluorescence microscopy showed the expression and localization of claudin-3 to -8, -10, and -11 at epithelial tight junctions. Examination of the glands taken from embryonic day (E) 14, E16, and newborn mice revealed differential expression patterns of these claudins in the developing epithelium. Claudin-3, -5, and -7 were expressed in all of the luminal epithelial cells of the ducts at all of the developmental stages examined and in those of terminal tubules at E16 and later. Claudin-4 was expressed mainly in the ducts at all the developmental stages. The expression of claudin-6 and -8 was also restricted to the ducts at E14 and E16; but after birth, the former was undetectable, whereas the latter was expressed in both the ducts and terminal tubules. Claudin-10 and -11 were detectable mainly in the terminal tubules at E16 and later. In addition to being found in the epithelium, claudin-5 was also expressed in certain mesenchymal cells, probably endothelial cells. These results will provide a valuable resource for further investigation of tubulogenesis and physiological regulation of claudin-based tight junctions. Developmental Dynamics 231:425–431, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.