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Endometrial cancer is the most common female reproductive cancer in the United States and is associated with deregulated tight junction protein expression. Given the highly estrogen-responsive nature of this tissue, we investigated the effects of estrogen and its agonist, 4-OH TAM, on the expression and subcellular localization of the tight junction protein claudin-4 (CLDN-4), in HEC-1A endometrial cancer cells. In untreated HEC-1A cells, we observed dramatic overexpression of claudin-4 protein. In addition, differential detergent extraction analysis indicated that claudin-4 was localized primarily in the membrane but also found in the cytosolic, nuclear and cytoskeletal fractions. Upon exposure of HEC-1A to estradiol (E2), we observed a biphasic effect both on the overall expression of claudin-4 protein and on its cytosolic and cytoskeletal presence as demonstrated by immunoblot analysis. Immunofluorescence analysis also revealed a biphasic effect of E2 on claudin-4 expression. In contrast, we observed no changes in expression levels nor in the subcellular distribution patterns of claudin-4 in HEC-1A cells treated with different concentrations of 4-OH TAM. The intracellular presence of CLDN-4 coupled with the biphasic effects of E2 on CLDN-4 expression in the cytoskeleton suggest that this protein may be involved in cell signaling to and from TJs.




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International Journal of Oncology

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