Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 186, Issue 1, pp 17–43 | Cite as

Occluding junctions of invertebrate epithelia

  • Sima Jonusaite
  • Andrew Donini
  • Scott P. Kelly


Invertebrate diversity and architecture is immense. This is achieved by the organization and function of four tissue types found in most metazoan phyla—epithelial, connective, muscle and nervous tissue. Epithelial tissue is found in all extant animals (parazoan and metazoan alike). Epithelial cells form cellular sheets that cover internal or external surfaces and regulate the passage of material between separated compartments. The transepithelial movement of biological material between compartments can occur across the transcellular pathway (i.e. across cells) or the paracellular pathway (i.e. between cells) and the latter is regulated by occluding junctions that typically link cells in a subapical domain. In this review, information on occluding junctions of invertebrate epithelia is consolidated and discussed in the context of morphology, ultrastructure and physiology. In addition, an overview of what is currently known about invertebrate occluding junction proteins and their role in maintaining the integrity of invertebrate epithelia and regulating the barrier properties of these tissues is presented.


Invertebrate Epithelium Paracellular transport Occluding junction Septate junction Tight junction 



AD and SPK are funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) discovery grants. SJ is supported by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sima Jonusaite
    • 1
  • Andrew Donini
    • 1
  • Scott P. Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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