Claudins function as major constituents of the tight junction complexes that regulate the permeability of epithelia. While some claudin family members play essential roles in the formation of impermeable barriers, others mediate the permeability to ions and small molecules. Often, several claudin family members are coexpressed and interact with each other, and this determines the overall permeability. CLDN1 is required to prevent the paracellular diffusion of small molecules through tight junctions in the epidermis and is required for the normal barrier function of the skin. Required for normal water homeostasis and to prevent excessive water loss through the skin, probably via an indirect effect on the expression levels of other proteins, since CLDN1 itself seems to be dispensable for water barrier formation in keratinocyte tight junctions (PubMed:23407391). (Microbial infection) Acts as a receptor for hepatitis C virus in hepatocytes (PubMed:17325668). Acts as a receptor for dengue virus (PubMed:24074594).
Strongly expressed in liver and kidney. Expressed in heart, brain, spleen, lung and testis.