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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2002 Sep;283(3):C960-70.

Virtual cloning, functional expression, and gating analysis of human connexin31.9.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794-8661, USA.


We have identified a novel gap junction gene by searching the human genome sequence database that encodes a protein designated as connexin31.9 (Cx31.9). Cx31.9 was most homologous to human Cx32.4 and did not cluster with either the purported alpha- or beta-connexin subfamilies. Expression of Cx31.9 was detected by RT-PCR in human mRNA from several tissues including cerebral cortex, heart, liver, lung, kidney, spleen, and testis. A partial Cx31.9 sequence was also represented in the human Expressed Sequence Tag database. Cx31.9 formed intercellular channels in both paired Xenopus oocytes and transfected neuroblastoma N2A cells that were distinguished by an apparent low unitary conductance (12-15 pS) and a remarkable insensitivity to transjunctional voltage. In contrast, Cx31.9 channels were gated by cytoplasmic acidification or exposure to halothane like other connexins. Cx31.9 was able to form heterotypic channels with the highly voltage-sensitive Xenopus Cx38 (XenCx38), which provides an opportunity to study gating in heterotypic channels formed by hemichannels (connexons) composed of connexins with widely divergent properties. Thus Cx31.9 is a novel human connexin that forms channels with unique functional properties.

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