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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Connexin43 in MDCK cells: regulation by a tumor-promoting phorbol ester and Ca2+.

Prior to confluence, cultures of Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells expressed gap junctional communication, as assessed by fluorescent dye transfer, as well as relatively high levels of an anti-connexin43 immunoreactive component referred to as connexin43 (Cx43). After confluence, dye coupling and levels of Cx43 were dramatically reduced. Immunofluorescence analysis of the distribution of Cx43 in subconfluent cultures showed punctate labeling on the plasma membrane at regions of cell apposition and a more diffuse labeling in perinuclear regions. Western blots of total cell homogenates showed that the dephosphorylated form of Cx43 was more abundant than the phosphorylated forms. Phosphorylation of Cx43 was not significantly affected by 8-Bromo-cAMP or 8-Bromo-cGMP. However, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) inhibited dye coupling and induced an increase in the amount of phosphorylated forms of Cx43 at the expense of the dephosphorylated form. This effect occurred as rapidly as 5 min after TPA treatment without apparent changes in distribution of Cx43 or cell morphology. These results suggest that second messenger pathways involving protein kinase C, but not cAMP- or cGMP-dependent protein kinase, led to changes in electrophoretic mobility of Cx43, revealed by Western blot, consistent with an alteration in the state of phosphorylation of the gap junction protein. Treatments with staurosporine, a protein kinase inhibitor, or okadaic acid, a protein phosphatase inhibitor, either alone or in combination with TPA, indicated that the abundance of the dephosphorylated form of Cx43 in MDCK cells was due to low kinase activity. It was also found that lowering the concentration of extracellular Ca2+, which reduced cell contact, did not affect the abundance, the state of phosphorylation, or the TPA-induced phosphorylation of Cx43. These results suggest that neither extracellular Ca2+ nor cell contact is required for basal or TPA-induced phosphorylation of Cx43.[1]


  1. Connexin43 in MDCK cells: regulation by a tumor-promoting phorbol ester and Ca2+. Berthoud, V.M., Ledbetter, M.L., Hertzberg, E.L., Sáez, J.C. Eur. J. Cell Biol. (1992) [Pubmed]
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