Tight junction biology

The tight junction (TJ) is the most apical component of the junctional complex in mammalian epithelia. By forming a barrier to diffusion, they regulate the flux of hydrophilic molecules between cells and prevent free passage of potentially toxic molecules. Recent studies have identified the claudin family of trans-membrane proteins as essential for the formation of functional TJs.

We are interested in TJ biology with reference to inflammatory skin disease, the most common of which is psoriasis, and also intrinsic ageing, where barrier function is decreased. Our research programme in TJ biology is directed by Dr Cath O’Neill and Dr Rachel Watson.