Lipid rafts regulate PCB153-induced disruption of occludin and brain endothelial barrier function through protein phosphatase 2A and matrix metalloproteinase-2

Sung Yong Eum, Dima Jaraki, Ibolya E. András, Michal Toborek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Occludin is an essential integral transmembrane protein regulating tight junction (TJ) integrity in brain endothelial cells. Phosphorylation of occludin is associated with its localization to TJ sites and incorporation into intact TJ assembly. The present study is focused on the role of lipid rafts in polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-induced disruption of occludin and endothelial barrier function. Exposure of human brain endothelial cells to 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB153) induced dephosphorylation of threonine residues of occludin and displacement of occludin from detergent-resistant membrane (DRM)/lipid raft fractions within 1. h. Moreover, lipid rafts modulated the reduction of occludin level through activation of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) after 24. h PCB153 treatment. Inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity by okadaic acid or fostriecin markedly protected against PCB153-induced displacement of occludin and increased permeability of endothelial cells. The implication of lipid rafts and PP2A signaling in these processes was further defined by co-immunoprecipitation of occludin with PP2A and caveolin-1, a marker protein of lipid rafts. Indeed, a significant MMP-2 activity was observed in lipid rafts and was increased by exposure to PCB153. The pretreatment of MMP-2 inhibitors protected against PCB153-induced loss of occludin and disruption of lipid raft structure prevented the increase of endothelial permeability. Overall, these results indicate that lipid raft-associated processes, such as PP2A and MMP-2 activation, participate in PCB153-induced disruption of occludin function in brain endothelial barrier. This study contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms leading to brain endothelial barrier dysfunction in response to exposure to environmental pollutants, such as ortho-substituted PCBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 5 2015


  • 2,2',4,4',5,5'-Hexachlorobiphenyl
  • Brain endothelium
  • Lipid rafts
  • Matrix metalloproteinase-2
  • Occludin
  • Protein phosphatase 2A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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