Septins regulate junctional integrity of endothelial monolayers

Joanna Kim, John A. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Junctional integrity of endothelial monolayers is crucial to control movement of molecules and cells across the endothelium. Examining the structure and dynamics of cell junctions in endothelial monolayers, we discovered a role for septins. Contacts between adjacent endothelial cells were dynamic, with protrusions extending above or below neighboring cells. Vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) was present at cell junctions, with a membrane-associated layer of F-actin. Septins localized at cell-junction membranes, in patterns distinct from VE-cadherin and F-actin. Septins assumed curved and scallop-shaped patterns at junctions, especially in regions of positive membrane curvature associated with actin-rich membrane protrusions. Depletion of septins led to disrupted morphology of VE-cadherin junctions and increased expression of VE-cadherin. In videos, septin-depleted cells displayed remodeling at cell junctions; regions with VE-cadherin were broader, and areas with membrane ruffling were wider. Septin depletion and junction disruption led to functional loss of junctional integrity, revealed by decreased transendothelial electric resistance and increased transmigration of immune cells. We conclude that septins, as cytoskeletal elements associated with the plasma membrane, are important for cell junctions and junctional integrity of endothelial monolayers, functioning at regions of positive curvature in support of actin-rich protrusions to promote cadherin-based cell junctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1703
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2018


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