Freeze fracture and thin section methods were used to study tight junction formation between confluent H4 II E hepatoma cells that were plated in monolayer culture in media with and without dexamethasone, a synthetic glucocorticoid. Three presumptive stages in the genesis of tight junctions were suggested by these studies: 'formation zones' (smooth P fracture face ridges deficient in intramembranous particles), apparently matches across a partially reduced extracellular space, develop between adjacent cells; linear strands and aggregates of 9-11 nm particles collect along the ridges of the formation zones. The extracellular space was always reduced when these structures were found matched with pits in gentle E face depressions; and the linear arrays of particles on the ridges associate within the membranes to form the fibrils characteristic of mature tight junctions. The formation zones resemble tight junctions in terms of size, complexity and the patterns of membrane ridges. Although some of the beaded particle specializations may actually be gap junctions, it is unlikely that all can be interpreted in this way. No other membrane structures were detected that could represent developmental stages of tight junctions. Dexamethasone (at 2 x 10-6 M) apparently stimulated formation of tight junctions. Treated cultures had a greater number of formation zones and mature tight junctions, although no differences in qualitative features of the junctions were noted.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Journal of Supramolecular and Cellular Biochemistry|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1979|