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FEBS Lett. 2014 Apr 17;588(8):1193-204. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.02.025. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

Mix and match: investigating heteromeric and heterotypic gap junction channels in model systems and native tissues.

Author information

1
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States; Department of Cell Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States. Electronic address: mhkoval@emory.edu.
2
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States.
3
Department of Physiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States.

Abstract

This review is based in part on a roundtable discussion session: "Physiological roles for heterotypic/heteromeric channels" at the 2013 International Gap Junction Conference (IGJC 2013) in Charleston, South Carolina. It is well recognized that multiple connexins can specifically co-assemble to form mixed gap junction channels with unique properties as a means to regulate intercellular communication. Compatibility determinants for both heteromeric and heterotypic gap junction channel formation have been identified and associated with specific connexin amino acid motifs. Hetero-oligomerization is also a regulated process; differences in connexin quality control and monomer stability are likely to play integral roles to control interactions between compatible connexins. Gap junctions in oligodendrocyte:astrocyte communication and in the cardiovascular system have emerged as key systems where heterotypic and heteromeric channels have unique physiologic roles. There are several methodologies to study heteromeric and heterotypic channels that are best applied to either heterologous expression systems, native tissues or both. There remains a need to use and develop different experimental approaches in order to understand the prevalence and roles for mixed gap junction channels in human physiology.

KEYWORDS:

Connexin; Gap junction; Membrane transport; Quality control

PMID:
24561196
PMCID:
PMC3992227
DOI:
10.1016/j.febslet.2014.02.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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