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

Gap junction proteins exhibit early and specific expression during intramembranous bone formation in the developing chick mandible.

The spatial and temporal expression of three closely related members of the connexin family of gap junction proteins (connexin42, Cx42; connexin43, Cx43; and connexin45, Cx45) was evaluated during bone formation in the mandibular process of the chick embryo. Mandibles of chick embryos from Hamburger and Hamilton stage 25 (approximately 5 days) through 19 days of development were dissected, serially sectioned and processed for immunocytochemical localization, employing site-specific anti-connexin antibodies. Our data revealed that (1) Cx43 was present throughout mandibular bone formation; (2) although it appeared to be associated with all bone cell types, Cx43 was concentrated in mesenchymal cells during the earliest stages in the osteogenic lineage; (3) most importantly, the localization of Cx43 at sites of bone formation appeared to precede the overt expression of the osteogenic phenotype; (4) by contrast, Cx45 was more restricted, spatially and temporally, in its distribution; (5) Cx42 expression was not detected in osteogenic tissue during mandibular bone formation. From all of the data obtained, Cx45 appeared to be associated with stages of bone formation characterized by the elaboration of matrix and the progressive expression of the differentiated osteogenic phenotype. Cx43 appeared to be associated with condensation of mesenchyme and the earliest stages of osteogenesis. Because of these associations, we propose that connexin expression may be necessary for the initiation of bone formation and the full expression of the osteogenic phenotype.[1]


  1. Gap junction proteins exhibit early and specific expression during intramembranous bone formation in the developing chick mandible. Minkoff, R., Rundus, V.R., Parker, S.B., Hertzberg, E.L., Laing, J.G., Beyer, E.C. Anat. Embryol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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