||Welcome to the Furuse Lab
|The epithelium separates the body from the external environment and creates
distinct fluid compartments within the body. This epithelial barrier function
is crucial for physiological functions of most organ systems and homeostasis.
In the Furuse Lab, we are interested in how the epithelial barrier function
is created and regulated. To address these questions, we are investigating
the molecular architecture and mechanism of occluding junctions: cell-cell
junctions that work as permeability barriers at the intercellular space,
including vertebrate tight junctions and invertebrate septate junctions.
Despite recent progress in the studies of molecular organization and in
vivo significance of tight junctions, many cell biological aspects in their
formation and functional regulation are not understood.
Most of our research is based on the analyses of occluding junction-associated
molecules we originally identified. In our research on tight junctions,
we use cultured epithelial cells as an accessible model for basic analyses
and gene manipulated mice to investigate in vivo function. We also use
Drosophila to study septate junction in the gut as a model of the intestinal
barrier function. We apply a combination of cell biological, physiological
and genetic approaches to clarify the molecular basis of occluding junctions
in terms of epithelial biology.