Tight junctions in a fluid-transporting epithelium of an insect

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Science  06 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4388, pp. 91-93
DOI: 10.1126/science.432631


Occluding junctions have been found between the lateral cell borders at the base of the rectum of Periplaneta americana. They appear as punctate membrane appositions in thin sections, and after incubation in physiological solutions containing lanthanum before fixation the inward penetration of tracer is impeded in this same basal area. Moreover, freeze-fracture studies of this region reveal simple linear ridges on fracture face P and grooves on fracture face E, which are similar to the less complex vertebrate tight junctions. The luminal clefts, which permit free inward diffusion of tracers, present no tight junctions, but do have septate junctions. These results support the contention that, contrary to earlier speculation, arthropods do possess tight junctions; these, rather than septate junctions, appear to form the morphological basis of at least some of the permeability barriers observed in invertebrates.