Regulatory function of trefoil peptides (TFF) on intestinal cell junctional complexes

Andrea Buda, Mark A. Jepson, Massimo Pignatelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Trefoil peptides (TFF) are constitutively expressed in the gastrointestinal tract and are involved in gastrointestinal defence and repair by promoting epithelial restitution. Although there is a general consensus regarding the pro-motogenic activity of trefoil peptides, the cellular mechanisms through which they mediate these processes are not completely understood. Pertubation of the E-cadherin/catenin complex at intercellular junctions appears to be a functional pathway through which TFF2 and TFF3 promote cell migration. Tight junction complexes seal the paracellular spaces between cells and contribute to epithelial barrier function. TFF3 peptide stimulation stabilises these junctions through upregulation of the tightening protein claudin-1 and redistribution of ZO-1 from the cytoplasm to the intercellular membrane with an increase in binding to occludin. Modulation of the functional activity and subcellular localisation of epithelial junctional adhesion molecules represent important mechanisms by which trefoil peptides may promote migration of intestinal epithelial cells in vitro and healing of mucosal damage in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalCell Communication and Adhesion
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Tight junctions
  • Trefoil peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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