Connexin43 phosphorylation in brain, cardiac, endothelial and epithelial tissues.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Biochimica et biophysica acta, Volume 1818, Issue 8, p.1985-92 (2012)


2012, Center-Authored Paper, Comparative Medicine Core Facility, Public Health Sciences Division, Scientific Imaging Core Facility, September 2011, Shared Resources


Gap junctions, composed of proteins from the connexin family, allow for intercellular communication between cells in essentially all tissues. There are 21 connexin genes in the human genome and different tissues express different connexin genes. Most connexins are known to be phosphoproteins. Phosphorylation can regulate connexin assembly into gap junctions, gap junction turnover and channel gating. Given the importance of gap junctions in development, proliferation and carcinogenesis, regulation of gap junction phosphorylation in response to wounding, hypoxia and other tissue insults is proving to be critical for cellular response and return to homeostasis. Connexin43 (Cx43) is the most widely and highly expressed gap junction protein, both in cell culture models and in humans, thus more research has been done on it and more reagents to it are available. In particular, antibodies that can report Cx43 phosphorylation status have been created allowing temporal examination of specific phosphorylation events in vivo. This review is focused on the use of these antibodies in tissue in situ, predominantly looking at Cx43 phosphorylation in brain, heart, endothelium and epithelium with reference to other connexins where data is available. These data allow us to begin to correlate specific phosphorylation events with changes in cell and tissue function. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: The Communicating junctions, composition, structure and characteristics.