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Altered Expression, Localization, and Phosphorylation of Epithelial Junctional Proteins in Celiac Disease

Rachele Ciccocioppo MD, Alberto Finamore PhD, Carmen Ara PhD, Antonio Di Sabatino MD, Elena Mengheri PhD, Gino R. Corazza MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/DTYRA91G8R0KTM8M 502-511 First published online: 1 April 2006


We aimed to study the expression and localization of the molecular components of enterocyte junctions in celiac disease together with the level of tyrosine phosphorylation, a phenomenon known to affect their cellular distribution and function, and to explore the influence of proinflammatory cytokines. Duodenal biopsy specimens from patients with celiac disease and control subjects were used for immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting, and immunolocalization by using antioccludin, anti–zonula occludens (ZO)-1, antiE-cadherin, anti–β-catenin, and antiphosphotyrosine antibodies. The same procedures were carried out on filter-grown Caco-2 cells incubated in the absence or presence of interferon and tumor necrosis factor α. In active celiac disease, the absence of a phosphorylated ZO-1 and the extensive phosphorylation of β-catenin might be responsible for the absence of membranous localization of occludin and E-cadherin, respectively. The in vitro system showed an influence of the cytokines on the assembly of these complexes that proved the opposite to celiac samples as far as tight junctions were concerned because the presence of a phosphorylated ZO-1 enables occludin to localize in the membrane.

Key Words:
  • Celiac disease
  • Cytokines
  • Enterocyte junctions
  • Tyrosine phosphorylation