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Cell Commun Adhes. 2003 Jul-Dec;10(4-6):173-80.

An update on connexin genes and their nomenclature in mouse and man.

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Institut für Genetik, Universität Bonn, Germany.


Gap junctions, composed of connexin protein subunits, allow direct communication through conduits between neighboring cells. Twenty and twenty-one members of the connexin gene family are likely to be expressed in the mouse and human genome, respectively, 19 of which can be grouped into sequence-orthologous pairs. Their gene structure appears to be relatively simple. In most cases, an untranslated exon1 is separated by an intron of different lengh from exon2 that includes the uninterrupted coding region and the 3'-untranslated region. However, there are several exceptions to this scheme, since some mouse connexin genes contain different 5'-untranslated regions spliced either in an alternative and/or consecutive manner. Additionally, in at least 3 mouse and human connexin genes (mCx36, mCx39, mCx57 and hCx31.3, hCx36, as well as hCx40.1) the reading frame is spliced together from 2 different exons. So far, there are two nomenclatures to classify the known connexin genes: The "Gja/Gjb" nomenclature, as it is currently adopted by the NCBI data base, contains some inconsistencies compared to the "Cx" nomenclature. Here we suggest some minor corrections to co-ordinate the "Gja/Gjb" nomenclature with the "Cx" nomenclature. Furthermore, this short review contains an update on phenotypic correlations between connexin deficient mice and patients bearing mutations in their orthologous connexin genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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