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Biochemistry. 2005 Feb 22;44(7):2385-96.

Novel rab GAP-like protein, CIP85, interacts with connexin43 and induces its degradation.

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Natural Products and Cancer Biology Program, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, USA.


Gap junctions play critical roles in tissue function and homeostasis. Connexin43 (Cx43) is a major gap junction protein expressed in the mammalian heart and other tissues and may be regulated by its interaction with other cellular proteins. Using the yeast two-hybrid screen, we identified a novel Cx43-interacting protein of 85-kDa, CIP85, which contains a single TBC, SH3, and RUN domain, in addition to a short coiled coil region. Homologues containing this unique combination of domains were found in human, D. melanogaster, and C. elegans. CIP85 mRNA is expressed ubiquitously in mouse and human tissues. In vitro interaction assays and in vivo co-immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed the interaction of endogenous CIP85 with Cx43. In vitro interaction experiments using CIP85 mutants with in-frame deletions of the TBC, SH3, and RUN domains indicated that the SH3 domain of CIP85 is involved in its interaction with Cx43. Conversely, analysis of Cx43 mutants with proline to alanine substitutions in the two proline-rich regions of Cx43 revealed that the P(253)LSP(256) motif is an important determinant of the ability of Cx43 to interact with CIP85. Laser-scanning confocal microscopy showed that CIP85 colocalized with Cx43 at the cell periphery, particularly in areas reminiscent of gap junction plaques. The functional importance of the interaction between CIP85 and Cx43 was suggested by the observation that CIP85 appears to induce the turnover of Cx43 through the lysosomal pathway.

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