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J Membr Biol. 2007 Jun;217(1-3):83-91. Epub 2007 Jul 31.

Gap junction and purinergic P2 receptor proteins as a functional unit: insights from transcriptomics.

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Dominick P Purpura Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Gap junctions and purinergic P2 receptors (P2Rs) can be regarded as belonging to a common functional unit, given that they are involved in the transmission of calcium signals between cells. We have previously shown that deletion of the Gja1 gene alters expression levels of numerous genes encoding proteins with diverse functions, including purinergic receptors (P2Rs), and have found that genes synergistically or antagonistically expressed in wild-type tissues are more prone to be similarly or oppositely regulated in Cx43-nulls. We have now explored the use of coordination analysis of gene expression as a strategy to identify interlinked genes encoding functionally related proteins and pull-downs to evaluate their interlinkage. Our findings indicate that, in brain and in cultured astrocytes, several of these coexpressed genes encode proteins that are components of P2R signal-transduction pathways and/or directly interact with these receptors, including the gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43) and Cx45 as well as pannexins. It is proposed that coordination analysis of gene expression may provide a novel unbiased strategy for the identification of proteins belonging to supramolecular complexes.

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