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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Dec 22;95(26):15735-40.

Connexins regulate calcium signaling by controlling ATP release.

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Departments of Cell Biology and Anatomy, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.


Forced expression of gap junction proteins, connexins, enables gap junction-deficient cell lines to propagate intercellular calcium waves. Here, we show that ATP secretion from the poorly coupled cell lines, C6 glioma, HeLa, and U373 glioblastoma, is potentiated 5- to 15-fold by connexin expression. ATP release required purinergic receptor-activated intracellular Ca2+ mobilization and was inhibited by Cl- channel blockers. Calcium wave propagation also was reduced by purinergic receptor antagonists and by Cl- channel blockers but insensitive to gap junction inhibitors. These observations suggest that cell-to-cell signaling associated with connexin expression results from enhanced ATP release and not, as previously believed, from an increase in intercellular coupling.

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