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

Molecular cloning and developmental expression of two chick embryo gap junction proteins.

The connexins are a family of related gap junction proteins which contain conserved transmembrane and extracellular domains but unique cytoplasmic regions. To identify connexins with potential roles in development, a chick embryo cDNA library was screened by hybridization at low stringency with a cDNA for rat connexin-43. cDNA clones for two previously undescribed connexins were isolated. Chick connexin-45 has a predicted molecular mass of 45,376 daltons; connexin-42 has a predicted molecular mass of 41,748 daltons. Both of these predicted connexin proteins share the homologous regions noted in other members of this family, and each has its own unique regions. Southern blots of chicken genomic DNA suggest that each connexin is encoded by a distinct single copy gene. RNA blots demonstrate that while chick connexin-43, -42, and -45 are each expressed in a number of chick organs, they each have a unique tissue distribution. Each connexin mRNA is present in heart. Blots of total RNA isolated from hearts of chick embryos of different ages demonstrate that the abundance of connexin-42 and -43 mRNAs varies no more than 2-fold between the embryo and the adult. However, connexin-45 mRNA shows a dramatic change, falling 10-fold from the 6-day embryonic heart to the adult. These multiple connexins are likely to have different physiological properties and may account for the multiple physiologically distinct gap junction channels which have been observed in cardiac myocytes. They may provide a mechanism for the formation of communication compartments in the developing myocardium.[1]

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