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Circ Res. 1992 Feb;70(2):438-44.

Cardiac myocytes express multiple gap junction proteins.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo. 63110.


Electrical propagation in the normal heart occurs via intercellular transfer of current at gap junctions. Alterations in intercellular coupling in the diseased heart are critical in the pathogenesis of reentrant ventricular arrhythmias. Until recently only a single gap junction protein was known to couple cardiac myocytes. We have now identified and sequenced two additional distinct gap junction proteins (connexins) expressed in the mammalian heart. The sequences differ in their predicted cytoplasmic regulatory domains. Expression of all three connexins by canine ventricular myocytes has been confirmed by Northern blotting and by immunohistochemistry with connexin-specific antisera. Immunoelectron microscopy confirmed that all three connexins are localized to myocyte gap junctions. The presence of multiple connexins in myocyte gap junctions suggests novel mechanisms for regulating cardiac electrical coupling.

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