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J Cell Sci. 2013 Jun 15;126(Pt 12):2607-16. doi: 10.1242/jcs.116269. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Visualizing the effect of dynamin inhibition on annular gap vesicle formation and fission.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA l5261, USA.


Although gap junction plaque assembly has been extensively studied, mechanisms involved in plaque disassembly are not well understood. Disassembly involves an internalization process in which annular gap junction vesicles are formed. These vesicles undergo fission, but the molecular machinery needed for these fissions has not been described. The mechanoenzyme dynamin has been previously demonstrated to play a role in gap junction plaque internalization. To investigate the role of dynamin in annular gap junction vesicle fission, immunocytochemical, time-lapse and transmission electron microscopy were used to analyze SW-13 adrenocortical cells in culture. Dynamin was demonstrated to colocalize with gap junction plaques and vesicles. Dynamin inhibition, by siRNA knockdown or treatment with the dynamin GTPase inhibitor dynasore, increased the number and size of gap junction 'buds' suspended from the gap junction plaques. Buds, in control populations, were frequently released to form annular gap junction vesicles. In dynamin-inhibited populations, the buds were larger and infrequently released and thus fewer annular gap junction vesicles were formed. In addition, the number of annular gap junction vesicle fissions per hour was reduced in the dynamin-inhibited populations. We believe this to be the first report addressing the details of annular gap junction vesicle fissions and demonstrating a role of dynamin in this process. This information is crucial for elucidating the relationship between gap junctions, membrane regulation and cell behavior.


Annular gap junction vesicle; Connexins; Dynamin; Endocytosis; Fission; Gap junction dynamics

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