Intercellular Junctions: Direct contact of a cell with a neighboring cell. Most such junctions are too small to be resolved by light microscopy, but they can be visualized by conventional or freeze-fracture electron microscopy, both of which show that the interacting CELL MEMBRANE and often the underlying CYTOPLASM and the intervening EXTRACELLULAR SPACE are highly specialized in these regions. (From Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2d ed, p792)Tight Junctions: Cell-cell junctions that seal adjacent epithelial cells together, preventing the passage of most dissolved molecules from one side of the epithelial sheet to the other. (Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2nd ed, p22)Desmosomes: A type of junction that attaches one cell to its neighbor. One of a number of differentiated regions which occur, for example, where the cytoplasmic membranes of adjacent epithelial cells are closely apposed. It consists of a circular region of each membrane together with associated intracellular microfilaments and an intercellular material which may include, for example, mucopolysaccharides. (From Glick, Glossary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990; Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)Adherens Junctions: Anchoring points where the CYTOSKELETON of neighboring cells are connected to each other. They are composed of specialized areas of the plasma membrane where bundles of the ACTIN CYTOSKELETON attach to the membrane through the transmembrane linkers, CADHERINS, which in turn attach through their extracellular domains to cadherins in the neighboring cell membranes. In sheets of cells, they form into adhesion belts (zonula adherens) that go all the way around a cell.Gap Junctions: Connections between cells which allow passage of small molecules and electric current. Gap junctions were first described anatomically as regions of close apposition between cells with a narrow (1-2 nm) gap between cell membranes. The variety in the properties of gap junctions is reflected in the number of CONNEXINS, the family of proteins which form the junctions.Freeze Fracturing: Preparation for electron microscopy of minute replicas of exposed surfaces of the cell which have been ruptured in the frozen state. The specimen is frozen, then cleaved under high vacuum at the same temperature. The exposed surface is shadowed with carbon and platinum and coated with carbon to obtain a carbon replica.Zonula Occludens-1 Protein: A 195-kDa zonula occludens protein that is distinguished by the presence of a ZU5 domain at the C-terminal of the molecule.Junctional Adhesion Molecules: A family of membrane glycoproteins localized to TIGHT JUNCTIONS that contain two extracellular Ig-like domains, a single transmembrane segment, and a cytoplasmic tail of variable length.Desmoplakins: Desmoplakins are cytoskeletal linker proteins that anchor INTERMEDIATE FILAMENTS to the PLASMA MEMBRANE at DESMOSOMES.Cadherins: Calcium-dependent cell adhesion proteins. They are important in the formation of ADHERENS JUNCTIONS between cells. Cadherins are classified by their distinct immunological and tissue specificities, either by letters (E- for epithelial, N- for neural, and P- for placental cadherins) or by numbers (cadherin-12 or N-cadherin 2 for brain-cadherin). Cadherins promote cell adhesion via a homophilic mechanism as in the construction of tissues and of the whole animal body.Occludin: A MARVEL domain protein that plays an important role in the formation and regulation of the TIGHT JUNCTION paracellular permeability barrier.Desmoglein 2: A CALCIUM-dependent adhesion molecule of DESMOSOMES that also plays a role in embryonic STEM CELL proliferation.Microscopy, Electron: Microscopy using an electron beam, instead of light, to visualize the sample, thereby allowing much greater magnification. The interactions of ELECTRONS with specimens are used to provide information about the fine structure of that specimen. In TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen are imaged. In SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY an electron beam falls at a non-normal angle on the specimen and the image is derived from the reactions occurring above the plane of the specimen.Epithelium: One or more layers of EPITHELIAL CELLS, supported by the basal lamina, which covers the inner or outer surfaces of the body.Claudin-1: An integral membrane protein that is localized to TIGHT JUNCTIONS, where it plays a role in controlling the paracellular permeability of polarized cells. Mutations in the gene for claudin-1 are associated with Neonatal Ichthyosis-Sclerosing Cholangitis (NISCH) Syndrome.Desmocollins: A group of desmosomal cadherins with cytoplasmic tails that are divergent from those of classical CADHERINS. Their intracytoplasmic domains bind PLAKOGLOBIN; PLAKOPHILINS; and DESMOPLAKINS.gamma Catenin: A multi-functional catenin that is highly homologous to BETA CATENIN. Gamma catenin binds CADHERINS and helps link their cytoplasmic tails to ACTIN in the CYTOSKELETON via ALPHA CATENIN. It is also found in DESMOSOMES where it mediates the link between DESMOSOMAL CADHERINS and DESMOPLAKIN.Epithelial Cells: Cells that line the inner and outer surfaces of the body by forming cellular layers (EPITHELIUM) or masses. Epithelial cells lining the SKIN; the MOUTH; the NOSE; and the ANAL CANAL derive from ectoderm; those lining the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM and the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM derive from endoderm; others (CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM and LYMPHATIC SYSTEM) derive from mesoderm. Epithelial cells can be classified mainly by cell shape and function into squamous, glandular and transitional epithelial cells.Plakophilins: Members of the armadillo family of proteins that are found in DESMOSOMES and interact with various proteins including desmocadherins; DESMOPLAKIN; ACTIN FILAMENTS; and KERATINS.Neuromuscular Junction: The synapse between a neuron and a muscle.Membrane Proteins: Proteins which are found in membranes including cellular and intracellular membranes. They consist of two types, peripheral and integral proteins. They include most membrane-associated enzymes, antigenic proteins, transport proteins, and drug, hormone, and lectin receptors.Desmogleins: A group of desmosomal cadherins with cytoplasmic tails that resemble those of classical CADHERINS.Connexin 43: A 43-kDa peptide which is a member of the connexin family of gap junction proteins. Connexin 43 is a product of a gene in the alpha class of connexin genes (the alpha-1 gene). It was first isolated from mammalian heart, but is widespread in the body including the brain.Endothelium: A layer of epithelium that lines the heart, blood vessels (ENDOTHELIUM, VASCULAR), lymph vessels (ENDOTHELIUM, LYMPHATIC), and the serous cavities of the body.Cell Communication: Any of several ways in which living cells of an organism communicate with one another, whether by direct contact between cells or by means of chemical signals carried by neurotransmitter substances, hormones, and cyclic AMP.Cytoskeletal Proteins: Major constituent of the cytoskeleton found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. They form a flexible framework for the cell, provide attachment points for organelles and formed bodies, and make communication between parts of the cell possible.Cell Adhesion: Adherence of cells to surfaces or to other cells.Cell Adhesion Molecules: Surface ligands, usually glycoproteins, that mediate cell-to-cell adhesion. Their functions include the assembly and interconnection of various vertebrate systems, as well as maintenance of tissue integration, wound healing, morphogenic movements, cellular migrations, and metastasis.Connexins: A group of homologous proteins which form the intermembrane channels of GAP JUNCTIONS. The connexins are the products of an identified gene family which has both highly conserved and highly divergent regions. The variety contributes to the wide range of functional properties of gap junctions.Desmosomal Cadherins: A single-pass transmembrane glycoproteins that mediate CALCIUM-dependent CELL ADHESION and are core components of DESMOSOMES.Catenins: A family of cytoskeletal proteins that play essential roles in CELL ADHESION at ADHERENS JUNCTIONS by linking CADHERINS to the ACTIN FILAMENTS of the CYTOSKELETON.Zonula Occludens-2 Protein: A zonula occludens protein subtype found in epithelial cell junctions. Several isoforms of zonula occludens-2 protein exist due to use of alternative promoter regions and alternative mRNA splicings.Electric Impedance: The resistance to the flow of either alternating or direct electrical current.Cell Membrane Permeability: A quality of cell membranes which permits the passage of solvents and solutes into and out of cells.Dogs: The domestic dog, Canis familiaris, comprising about 400 breeds, of the carnivore family CANIDAE. They are worldwide in distribution and live in association with people. (Walker's Mammals of the World, 5th ed, p1065)Actins: Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or F-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or G-actin. In conjunction with MYOSINS, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle.PhosphoproteinsCells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Capillaries: The minute vessels that connect the arterioles and venules.alpha Catenin: A catenin that binds F-ACTIN and links the CYTOSKELETON with BETA CATENIN and GAMMA CATENIN.beta Catenin: A multi-functional catenin that participates in CELL ADHESION and nuclear signaling. Beta catenin binds CADHERINS and helps link their cytoplasmic tails to the ACTIN in the CYTOSKELETON via ALPHA CATENIN. It also serves as a transcriptional co-activator and downstream component of WNT PROTEIN-mediated SIGNAL TRANSDUCTION PATHWAYS.Cytoskeleton: The network of filaments, tubules, and interconnecting filamentous bridges which give shape, structure, and organization to the cytoplasm.Caco-2 Cells: Human colonic ADENOCARCINOMA cells that are able to express differentiation features characteristic of mature intestinal cells, such as ENTEROCYTES. These cells are valuable in vitro tools for studies related to intestinal cell function and differentiation.Permeability: Property of membranes and other structures to permit passage of light, heat, gases, liquids, metabolites, and mineral ions.Cell Polarity: Orientation of intracellular structures especially with respect to the apical and basolateral domains of the plasma membrane. Polarized cells must direct proteins from the Golgi apparatus to the appropriate domain since tight junctions prevent proteins from diffusing between the two domains.Fluorescent Antibody Technique: Test for tissue antigen using either a direct method, by conjugation of antibody with fluorescent dye (FLUORESCENT ANTIBODY TECHNIQUE, DIRECT) or an indirect method, by formation of antigen-antibody complex which is then labeled with fluorescein-conjugated anti-immunoglobulin antibody (FLUORESCENT ANTIBODY TECHNIQUE, INDIRECT). The tissue is then examined by fluorescence microscopy.Cell Membrane: The lipid- and protein-containing, selectively permeable membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.Capillary Permeability: The property of blood capillary ENDOTHELIUM that allows for the selective exchange of substances between the blood and surrounding tissues and through membranous barriers such as the BLOOD-AIR BARRIER; BLOOD-AQUEOUS BARRIER; BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER; BLOOD-NERVE BARRIER; BLOOD-RETINAL BARRIER; and BLOOD-TESTIS BARRIER. Small lipid-soluble molecules such as carbon dioxide and oxygen move freely by diffusion. Water and water-soluble molecules cannot pass through the endothelial walls and are dependent on microscopic pores. These pores show narrow areas (TIGHT JUNCTIONS) which may limit large molecule movement.Cell Line: Established cell cultures that have the potential to propagate indefinitely.Microscopy, Confocal: A light microscopic technique in which only a small spot is illuminated and observed at a time. An image is constructed through point-by-point scanning of the field in this manner. Light sources may be conventional or laser, and fluorescence or transmitted observations are possible.Microscopy, Fluorescence: Microscopy of specimens stained with fluorescent dye (usually fluorescein isothiocyanate) or of naturally fluorescent materials, which emit light when exposed to ultraviolet or blue light. Immunofluorescence microscopy utilizes antibodies that are labeled with fluorescent dye.Lens, Crystalline: A transparent, biconvex structure of the EYE, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the IRIS and in front of the vitreous humor (VITREOUS BODY). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the CILIARY BODY is crucial for OCULAR ACCOMMODATION.Endothelium, Vascular: Single pavement layer of cells which line the luminal surface of the entire vascular system and regulate the transport of macromolecules and blood components.Microscopy, Phase-Contrast: A form of interference microscopy in which variations of the refracting index in the object are converted into variations of intensity in the image. This is achieved by the action of a phase plate.Lanthanum: Lanthanum. The prototypical element in the rare earth family of metals. It has the atomic symbol La, atomic number 57, and atomic weight 138.91. Lanthanide ion is used in experimental biology as a calcium antagonist; lanthanum oxide improves the optical properties of glass.Intestinal Mucosa: Lining of the INTESTINES, consisting of an inner EPITHELIUM, a middle LAMINA PROPRIA, and an outer MUSCULARIS MUCOSAE. In the SMALL INTESTINE, the mucosa is characterized by a series of folds and abundance of absorptive cells (ENTEROCYTES) with MICROVILLI.Podocytes: Highly differentiated epithelial cells of the visceral layer of BOWMAN CAPSULE of the KIDNEY. They are composed of a cell body with major CELL SURFACE EXTENSIONS and secondary fingerlike extensions called pedicels. They enwrap the KIDNEY GLOMERULUS capillaries with their cell surface extensions forming a filtration structure. The pedicels of neighboring podocytes interdigitate with each other leaving between them filtration slits that are bridged by an extracellular structure impermeable to large macromolecules called the slit diaphragm, and provide the last barrier to protein loss in the KIDNEY.Basement Membrane: A darkly stained mat-like EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM) that separates cell layers, such as EPITHELIUM from ENDOTHELIUM or a layer of CONNECTIVE TISSUE. The ECM layer that supports an overlying EPITHELIUM or ENDOTHELIUM is called basal lamina. Basement membrane (BM) can be formed by the fusion of either two adjacent basal laminae or a basal lamina with an adjacent reticular lamina of connective tissue. BM, composed mainly of TYPE IV COLLAGEN; glycoprotein LAMININ; and PROTEOGLYCAN, provides barriers as well as channels between interacting cell layers.Microscopy, Electron, Scanning: Microscopy in which the object is examined directly by an electron beam scanning the specimen point-by-point. The image is constructed by detecting the products of specimen interactions that are projected above the plane of the sample, such as backscattered electrons. Although SCANNING TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY also scans the specimen point by point with the electron beam, the image is constructed by detecting the electrons, or their interaction products that are transmitted through the sample plane, so that is a form of TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY.rho GTP-Binding Proteins: A large family of MONOMERIC GTP-BINDING PROTEINS that are involved in regulation of actin organization, gene expression and cell cycle progression. This enzyme was formerly listed as EC Cells: Highly specialized EPITHELIAL CELLS that line the HEART; BLOOD VESSELS; and lymph vessels, forming the ENDOTHELIUM. They are polygonal in shape and joined together by TIGHT JUNCTIONS. The tight junctions allow for variable permeability to specific macromolecules that are transported across the endothelial layer.Esophagogastric Junction: The area covering the terminal portion of ESOPHAGUS and the beginning of STOMACH at the cardiac orifice.Molecular Sequence Data: Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.Microscopy, Immunoelectron: Microscopy in which the samples are first stained immunocytochemically and then examined using an electron microscope. Immunoelectron microscopy is used extensively in diagnostic virology as part of very sensitive immunoassays.Immunohistochemistry: Histochemical localization of immunoreactive substances using labeled antibodies as reagents.Keratinocytes: Epidermal cells which synthesize keratin and undergo characteristic changes as they move upward from the basal layers of the epidermis to the cornified (horny) layer of the skin. Successive stages of differentiation of the keratinocytes forming the epidermal layers are basal cell, spinous or prickle cell, and the granular cell.Actin Cytoskeleton: Fibers composed of MICROFILAMENT PROTEINS, which are predominately ACTIN. They are the smallest of the cytoskeletal filaments.Cell Movement: The movement of cells from one location to another. Distinguish from CYTOKINESIS which is the process of dividing the CYTOPLASM of a cell.Tight Junction Proteins: Proteins that take part in the formation or structure of TIGHT JUNCTIONS.Antigens, CD: Differentiation antigens residing on mammalian leukocytes. CD stands for cluster of differentiation, which refers to groups of monoclonal antibodies that show similar reactivity with certain subpopulations of antigens of a particular lineage or differentiation stage. The subpopulations of antigens are also known by the same CD designation.rac GTP-Binding Proteins: A sub-family of RHO GTP-BINDING PROTEINS that is involved in regulating the organization of cytoskeletal filaments. This enzyme was formerly listed as EC Junction Resolvases: Enzymes that recognize CRUCIFORM DNA structures and introduce paired incisions that help to resolve the structure into two DNA helices.Antigens, CD31: Cell adhesion molecules present on virtually all monocytes, platelets, and granulocytes. CD31 is highly expressed on endothelial cells and concentrated at the junctions between them.Blood-Brain Barrier: Specialized non-fenestrated tightly-joined ENDOTHELIAL CELLS with TIGHT JUNCTIONS that form a transport barrier for certain substances between the cerebral capillaries and the BRAIN tissue.Signal Transduction: The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway.Calcium: A basic element found in nearly all organized tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol Ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes.Transfection: The uptake of naked or purified DNA by CELLS, usually meaning the process as it occurs in eukaryotic cells. It is analogous to bacterial transformation (TRANSFORMATION, BACTERIAL) and both are routinely employed in GENE TRANSFER TECHNIQUES.Microscopy, Electron, Transmission: Electron microscopy in which the ELECTRONS or their reaction products that pass down through the specimen are imaged below the plane of the specimen.Models, Biological: Theoretical representations that simulate the behavior or activity of biological processes or diseases. For disease models in living animals, DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL is available. Biological models include the use of mathematical equations, computers, and other electronic equipment.Electric Conductivity: The ability of a substrate to allow the passage of ELECTRONS.Amino Acid Sequence: The order of amino acids as they occur in a polypeptide chain. This is referred to as the primary structure of proteins. It is of fundamental importance in determining PROTEIN CONFORMATION.Phosphorylation: The introduction of a phosphoryl group into a compound through the formation of an ester bond between the compound and a phosphorus moiety.Base Sequence: The sequence of PURINES and PYRIMIDINES in nucleic acids and polynucleotides. It is also called nucleotide sequence.Kidney: Body organ that filters blood for the secretion of URINE and that regulates ion concentrations.Morphogenesis: The development of anatomical structures to create the form of a single- or multi-cell organism. Morphogenesis provides form changes of a part, parts, or the whole organism.Cytoplasm: The part of a cell that contains the CYTOSOL and small structures excluding the CELL NUCLEUS; MITOCHONDRIA; and large VACUOLES. (Glick, Glossary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990)Protein Binding: The process in which substances, either endogenous or exogenous, bind to proteins, peptides, enzymes, protein precursors, or allied compounds. Specific protein-binding measures are often used as assays in diagnostic assessments.Protein Transport: The process of moving proteins from one cellular compartment (including extracellular) to another by various sorting and transport mechanisms such as gated transport, protein translocation, and vesicular transport.Cell Differentiation: Progressive restriction of the developmental potential and increasing specialization of function that leads to the formation of specialized cells, tissues, and organs.Cattle: Domesticated bovine animals of the genus Bos, usually kept on a farm or ranch and used for the production of meat or dairy products or for heavy labor.Immunoblotting: Immunologic method used for detecting or quantifying immunoreactive substances. The substance is identified by first immobilizing it by blotting onto a membrane and then tagging it with labeled antibodies.Myocardium: The muscle tissue of the HEART. It is composed of striated, involuntary muscle cells (MYOCYTES, CARDIAC) connected to form the contractile pump to generate blood flow.Time Factors: Elements of limited time intervals, contributing to particular results or situations.Trans-Activators: Diffusible gene products that act on homologous or heterologous molecules of viral or cellular DNA to regulate the expression of proteins.Blotting, Western: Identification of proteins or peptides that have been electrophoretically separated by blot transferring from the electrophoresis gel to strips of nitrocellulose paper, followed by labeling with antibody probes.Umbilical Veins: Venous vessels in the umbilical cord. They carry oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood from the mother to the FETUS via the PLACENTA. In humans, there is normally one umbilical vein.Mutation: Any detectable and heritable change in the genetic material that causes a change in the GENOTYPE and which is transmitted to daughter cells and to succeeding generations.Rabbits: The species Oryctolagus cuniculus, in the family Leporidae, order LAGOMORPHA. Rabbits are born in burrows, furless, and with eyes and ears closed. In contrast with HARES, rabbits have 22 chromosome pairs.Membrane Potentials: The voltage differences across a membrane. For cellular membranes they are computed by subtracting the voltage measured outside the membrane from the voltage measured inside the membrane. They result from differences of inside versus outside concentration of potassium, sodium, chloride, and other ions across cells' or ORGANELLES membranes. For excitable cells, the resting membrane potentials range between -30 and -100 millivolts. Physical, chemical, or electrical stimuli can make a membrane potential more negative (hyperpolarization), or less negative (depolarization).DNA, Cruciform: A cross-shaped DNA structure that can be observed under the electron microscope. It is formed by the incomplete exchange of strands between two double-stranded helices or by complementary INVERTED REPEAT SEQUENCES that refold into hairpin loops on opposite strands across from each other.Recombinant Fusion Proteins: Recombinant proteins produced by the GENETIC TRANSLATION of fused genes formed by the combination of NUCLEIC ACID REGULATORY SEQUENCES of one or more genes with the protein coding sequences of one or more genes.Tyrosine: A non-essential amino acid. In animals it is synthesized from PHENYLALANINE. It is also the precursor of EPINEPHRINE; THYROID HORMONES; and melanin.Rats, Sprague-Dawley: A strain of albino rat used widely for experimental purposes because of its calmness and ease of handling. It was developed by the Sprague-Dawley Animal Company.Mice, Knockout: Strains of mice in which certain GENES of their GENOMES have been disrupted, or "knocked-out". To produce knockouts, using RECOMBINANT DNA technology, the normal DNA sequence of the gene being studied is altered to prevent synthesis of a normal gene product. Cloned cells in which this DNA alteration is successful are then injected into mouse EMBRYOS to produce chimeric mice. The chimeric mice are then bred to yield a strain in which all the cells of the mouse contain the disrupted gene. Knockout mice are used as EXPERIMENTAL ANIMAL MODELS for diseases (DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL) and to clarify the functions of the genes.Antibodies, Monoclonal: Antibodies produced by a single clone of cells.Fibroblasts: Connective tissue cells which secrete an extracellular matrix rich in collagen and other macromolecules.Gene Expression Regulation: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control (induction or repression) of gene action at the level of transcription or translation.