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J Cell Sci. 2003 Jun 1;116(Pt 11):2203-11. Epub 2003 Apr 15.

Connexin43 phosphorylation at S368 is acute during S and G2/M and in response to protein kinase C activation.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Phorbol esters such as 12-O-tetradeconylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) activate protein kinase C, increase Connexin43 (Cx43) phosphorylation, and decrease cell-cell communication via gap junctions in many cell types. Previous work has implicated protein kinase C (PKC) in the direct phosphorylation of Cx43 at S368, which results in a change in single channel behavior that contributes to a decrease in intercellular communication. We have examined Cx43 phosphorylation in several cell lines with an antibody specific for phosphorylated S368. We show that this antibody detects Cx43 only when it is phosphorylated at S368 and, consistent with previous results, TPA treatment causes a dramatic increase in phosphorylation at S368. However, in some cell types, the increased phosphorylation at S368 did not cause a detectable shift in migration as compared with the nonphosphorylated Cx43. Immunofluorescence showed increased S368 immunolabeling in cytoplasmic and plasma membrane structures in response to TPA. Immunoblot analysis of synchronized cells showed increased phosphorylation at S368 during S and G2/M phases of the cell cycle. S-phase cells contained more total Cx43 but assembled fewer functional gap junctional channels than G0-phase cells. Since M-phase cells also communicate poorly and contain few assembled gap junctions, phosphorylation at S368 appears to be negatively correlated with gap junction assembly. Thus, both gap junctional communication and S368 phosphorylation change during S phase and G2/M, implying that phosphorylation at S368 might play a role in key cell-cycle events.

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