Occluding junctions as novel regulators of tissue mechanics during wound repair

Lara Carvalho, Pedro Patricio, Susana Ponte, Carl Philipp Heisenberg, Luis Almeida, André S. Nunes, Nuno A.M. Araújo, Antonio Jacinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


In epithelial tissues, cells tightly connect to each other through cell–cell junctions, but they also present the remarkable capacity of reorganizing themselves without compromising tissue integrity. Upon injury, simple epithelia efficiently resolve small lesions through the action of actin cytoskeleton contractile structures at the wound edge and cellular rearrangements. However, the underlying mechanisms and how they cooperate are still poorly understood. In this study, we combine live imaging and theoretical modeling to reveal a novel and indispensable role for occluding junctions (OJs) in this process. We demonstrate that OJ loss of function leads to defects in wound-closure dynamics: instead of contracting, wounds dramatically increase their area. OJ mutants exhibit phenotypes in cell shape, cellular rearrangements, and mechanical properties as well as in actin cytoskeleton dynamics at the wound edge. We propose that OJs are essential for wound closure by impacting on epithelial mechanics at the tissue level, which in turn is crucial for correct regulation of the cellular events occurring at the wound edge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4267-4283
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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