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J Invest Dermatol. 2007 Nov;127(11):2516-24.

Gap junctions: basic structure and function.

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1Program in Genetics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA.


Gap junctions allow the exchange of ions, second messengers, and small metabolites between adjacent cells and are formed by two unrelated protein families, the pannexins and connexins. Mutations in connexin genes cause a variety of genetic disorders, implicating a critical role in tissue homeostasis. Association of congenital skin disorders to mutations in different connexins has underscored the importance of gap junctional communication in the skin and its appendages. Here, we discuss the basic structure of gap junction channels and the function of connexin genes that have been associated with human disorders to explore the physiology of intercellular communication in skin.

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