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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2016 Feb;50:67-73. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.12.001. Epub 2015 Dec 10.

Connexins in skeletal muscle development and disease.

Author information

1
Department Anatomy and Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5C1. Electronic address: pmerrifi@uwo.ca.
2
Department Anatomy and Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5C1. Electronic address: dale.laird@schulich.uwo.ca.

Abstract

Gap junctions consist of clusters of intercellular channels composed of connexins that connect adjacent cells and allow the exchange of small molecules. While the 21 member multi-gene family of connexins are ubiquitously found in humans, only Cx39, Cx40, Cx43 and Cx45 have been documented in developing myoblasts and injured adult skeletal muscle while healthy adult skeletal muscle is devoid of connexins. The use of gap junctional blockers and cultured myoblast cell lines have suggested that these connexins play a critical role in myotube formation and muscle regeneration. More recent genetically-modified mouse models where Cx43 function is greatly compromized or ablated have further supported a role for Cx43 in regulating skeletal muscle development. In the last decade, we have become aware of a cohort of patients that have a development disorder known as oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD). These patients harbor either gain or loss of Cx43 function gene mutations that result in many organ anomalies raising questions as to whether they suffer from defects in skeletal muscle formation or regeneration upon injury. Interesting, some ODDD patients report muscle weakness and loss of limb control but it is not clear if this is neurogenic or myogenic in origin. This review will focus on the role connexins play in muscle development and repair and discuss the impact of Cx43 mutants on muscle function.

KEYWORDS:

Connexin; Gap junctions; Myogenesis; Oculodentodigital dysplasia; Skeletal muscle

PMID:
26688333
DOI:
10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.12.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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