To determine the localization of JAM-C in human RPE and characterize its functions.
Immunofluorescence, Western blot, and PCR was used to identify the localization and expression of JAM-C, ZO-1, N-cadherin, and ezrin in cultures of human fetal RPE (hfRPE) with or without si-RNA mediated JAM-C knockdown and in adult native RPE wholemounts. A transepithelial migration assay was used to study the migration of leukocytes through the hfRPE monolayer.
JAM-C localized at the tight junctions of cultured hfRPE cells and adult native RPE. During initial junction formation JAM-C was recruited to the primordial cell– cell contacts and after JAM-C knockdown, the organization of N-cadherin and ZO-1 at those contacts was disrupted. JAM-C knockdown caused a delay in the hfRPE cell polarization, as shown by reduced apical staining of ezrin. JAM-C inhibition significantly decreased the chemokine-induced transmigration of granulocytes but not monocytes through the hfRPE monolayer.
JAM-C localizes specifically in the tight junctions of hfRPE and adult native RPE. It is important for tight junction formation in hfRPE, possibly by regulating the recruitment of N-cadherin and ZO-1 at the cell– cell contacts, and has a role in the polarization of hfRPE cells. Finally, JAM-C promotes the basal-to-apical transmigration of granulocytes but not monocytes through the hfRPE monolayer.