Mix and match: Investigating heteromeric and heterotypic gap junction channels in model systems and native tissues

Michael Koval, Samuel A. Molina, Janis M. Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

This review is based in part on a roundtable discussion session: "Physiological roles for heterotypic/heteromeric channels" at the 2013 International Gap Junction Conference (IGJC 2013) in Charleston, South Carolina. It is well recognized that multiple connexins can specifically co-assemble to form mixed gap junction channels with unique properties as a means to regulate intercellular communication. Compatibility determinants for both heteromeric and heterotypic gap junction channel formation have been identified and associated with specific connexin amino acid motifs. Hetero-oligomerization is also a regulated process; differences in connexin quality control and monomer stability are likely to play integral roles to control interactions between compatible connexins. Gap junctions in oligodendrocyte:astrocyte communication and in the cardiovascular system have emerged as key systems where heterotypic and heteromeric channels have unique physiologic roles. There are several methodologies to study heteromeric and heterotypic channels that are best applied to either heterologous expression systems, native tissues or both. There remains a need to use and develop different experimental approaches in order to understand the prevalence and roles for mixed gap junction channels in human physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1193-1204
Number of pages12
JournalFEBS Letters
Volume588
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 17 2014

Keywords

  • Connexin
  • Gap junction
  • Membrane transport
  • Quality control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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