ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0120.v1
Subject: Biology, Physiology Keywords: connexin channels; inflammation signals; dye uptake; transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER); polyphenols; curcuminoids; Calu-3 cells
Online: 8 September 2022 (08:22:04 CEST)
Inflammation mediators enhance the activity of connexin (Cx) hemichannels especially in the epithelial and endothelial tissues. As potential release route for injury signals like (oligo)nucleotides, Cx hemichannels may contribute to long lasting inflammation. Specific inhibition of Cx hemichannels may therefore be a mode of prevention and treatment of long lasting, chronic sterile inflammation. The activity of Cx hemichannels was analysed in N2A and HeLa cells transfected with human Cx26 and Cx46 as well as in Calu-3 cells using the dye uptake as functional assay. Moreover, possible impact of the bioactive phenolic agents CVB2-61 and CVB4-57 on the barrier function of epithelial cells was analysed using Calu-3 cells. Both agents inhibited the dye uptake in N2A cells expressing Cx26 (> 5 µM) and Cx46 (> 20 µM). In Calu-3 cells, CVB2-61 and CVB4-57 reversible inhibited the dye uptake at concentrations as low as 5 µM, without affecting the gap junction communication and barrier function, even at concentrations of 20 µM. While CVB2-61 or CVB4-57 maintained a reduced dye uptake in Calu-3 cells, an enhancement of the dye uptake in response to stimulation of adenosine signaling was still observed after removal of the agents. The report shows that CVB2-61 and CVB4-57 reversible block Cx hemichannels. Deciphering the interaction mechanisms with Cx hemichannels could allow further development of phenolic compounds to target Cx hemichannels for a better and safer use in treatment of pathologies that involve Cx hemichannels.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0272.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: connexin-43; Cx43; gja1; connexins; macrophage; monocyte
Online: 11 December 2020 (09:29:57 CET)
Knowledge on the function of Connexin-43 on macrophages is gradually increasing and recent studies show how macrophages utilise Connexin-43. Migration, antigen-presentation and some forms of intercellular communication in macrophages are Connexin-43-dependant. Delicate processes, such as electrochemical support in conduction of the heartbeat in the AV-node, immunomodulatory regulation in the lungs and macrophage-differentiation are performed using Connexin-43 in macrophages. The relevance on pathophysiology becomes evident in inflammatory bowel disease, tumour networks and HIV in which aberrant function of Connexin-43 has been observed. Although many physiological, as well as pathophysiological functions were found to be Connexin-43-dependant, some still remain debated: the involvement of Connexin-43 in phagocytosis and polarisation, as well as its involvement in the mortality in murine sepsis are still unclear. These functions as well as further involvement in increasingly complex functions of the macrophage pose possible fields of research.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0041.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: connexin; gap junction; hemichannel; pannexin; peptide; cell signaling
Online: 2 September 2021 (13:38:54 CEST)
Gap junctions (GJ) and connexins play integral roles in cellular physiology and have been found to be involved in multiple pathophysiological states from cancer to cardiovascular disease. Studies over the last 60 years have demonstrated the utility of altering GJ signaling pathways in experimental models, which has led to them being attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. A number of different mechanisms have been proposed to regulate GJ signaling, including channel blocking, enhancing channel open state, and disrupting protein-protein interactions. The primary mechanism for this has been through the design of numerous peptides as therapeutics, that are either currently in early development or are in various stages of clinical trials. Despite over 25 years of research into connexin targeting peptides, the overall mechanisms of action are still poorly understood. In this overview, we discuss published connexin targeting peptides, their reported mechanisms of action and the potential for these molecules in the treatment of disease.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0372.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: pannexin; connexin; oocyte; developmental competence; oogenesis; maturation; fertilization
Online: 14 April 2021 (12:25:21 CEST)
The oocyte is the major determinant of embryo developmental competence in all mammalian species. Although fundamental advances have been generated in the field of reproductive medicine and assisted reproductive technologies in the past three decades, researchers and clinicians are still trying to elucidate molecular factors and pathways which could be pivotal for the oocyte’s developmental competence. The cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix communications are crucial not only for oocytes but also for multicellular organisms in general. This latter mentioned communication is among others possible due to the Connexin and Pannexin families of large-pore forming channels. Pannexins belong to a protein group of ATP-release channels, therefore of high importance for the oocyte due to its requirements of high energy supply. An increasing body of studies on Pannexins provided evidence that these channels not only play a role during physiological processes of an oocyte but also during pathological circumstances which could lead to the development of diseases or infertility. Connexins are proteins that form membrane channels and gap-junctions, and more precisely, these proteins enable the exchange of some ions and molecules, and therefore playing a fundamental role in the communication between the oocyte and accompanying cells. Herein, the role of Pannexins and Connexins for the processes of oogenesis, folliculogenesis, oocyte maturation and fertilization will be discussed, and at the end of this review, Pannexin and Connexin related pathologies and their impact on the developmental competence of oocytes will be provided.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0211.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: gap junction; connexin; annular gap junction vesicle; mitochondria; lysosome
Online: 15 May 2018 (08:39:33 CEST)
It is becoming clear that in addition to gap junctions, playing a role in cell-cell communication, gap junction proteins, connexins, located in cytoplasmic-compartments may have other important functions. Mitochondrial connexin 43 (Cx43) is increased after ischemic preconditioning and has been suggested to play a protective role in the heart. How Cx43 traffics to the mitochondria and the interactions of mitochondria with other Cx43-containing structures are unknown. In this study, immunocytochemical, super-resolution and transmission electron microscopy were used to detect cytoplasmic Cx43-containing structure and to demonstrate their interactions with other cytoplasmic organelles. The most prominent cytoplasmic Cx43-containing structures, annular gap junctions, were demonstrated to form intimate associations with lysosomes as well as with mitochondria. Surprisingly, the frequency of associations between mitochondria and annular gap junctions was greater than that between lysosomes and annular gap junctions. The benefits of annular gap junction/mitochondrial associations are not known. However, it is tempting to suggest that the contact between annular gap junction vesicles and mitochondria facilitates Cx43 deliver to the mitochondria. Furthermore, it points to the need for investigating trafficking of Cx43 to cytoplasmic compartments and annular gap junction as more than only a vesicle destined for degradation.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0333.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pathology & Pathobiology Keywords: gap junction; connexin; angiogenesis; cell mechanics; cell migration; cellular stiffness
Online: 28 December 2018 (05:19:52 CET)
Angiogenesis, the sprout and growth of new blood vessels from existing vasculature, is an important process of tumor development for the supply of oxygen and nutrition to cancer cells. Endothelial cell is a critical player in angiogenic process by modulating cell proliferation, cell motility, and cell morphology in the response to pro-angiogenic factors and environments provided by tumor and cancer cells. Recent in vivo and in vitro studies have revealed that gap junction of endothelial cells also participates in the promotion of angiogenesis. Pro-angiogenic factors modulate gap junction function and connexins expression in endothelial cells, whereas endothelial connexins involve in angiogenic tube formation and cell migration of endothelial cells via both gap junction channel function dependent or independent mechanisms. In particular, connexin might have the potential to regulate cell mechanics such as cell morphology, cell migration, and cellular stiffness that are dynamically changed during angiogenic processes. Here, we review the implication for endothelial gap junction and cellular mechanics in vascular angiogenesis.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0455.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: connexin hemichannel; gap junction; oxidative stress; Inflammatory receptors; Fasudil; Y-27632.
Online: 29 October 2021 (13:12:44 CEST)
Connexin 43 (Cx43) is expressed in kidneys and constitutes a feedforward mechanism leading to inflammation in other tissues where they form hemichannels and gap junction channels. However, the possible functional relationship between these membrane channels and their role in damaged renal cells remains unknown. Here, analyses of ethidium uptake and thiobarbituric acid reactive species revealed that TNF-α plus IL-1β increase Cx43 hemichannel activity and oxidative stress in MES-13 cells, a cell line derived from mesangial cells. The latter also was accompanied by a reduction in gap junctional communication, whereas western blotting analysis showed a progressive increase of phosphorylated MYPT (a substrate of RhoA/ROCK) and Cx43 upon TNF-α/IL-1β treatment. Additionally, inhibition of RhoA/ROCK strongly diminished the TNF-α/IL-1β-induced activation of Cx43 hemichannels and reduction in gap junctional coupling. We propose that activation of Cx43 hemichannels and inhibition of cell coupling during pro-inflammatory conditions could contribute to oxidative stress and damage of mesangial cells via the RhoA/ROCK pathway.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0192.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: connexin 43; gap junctions; cancer; intercellular communication; breast cancer; cell signaling; tunneling nanotubes; cell–cell communication; tumor microtubes
Online: 9 September 2020 (03:09:50 CEST)
Connexin 43 (Cx43) forms gap junctions that mediate the direct intercellular diffusion of ions and small molecules between adjacent cells. Cx43 displays both pro- and anti-tumorigenic properties, but the mechanisms underlying these characteristics are not fully understood. Tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) are long and thin membrane projections that connect cells, facilitating the exchange of not only small molecules, but also larger proteins, organelles, bacteria, and viruses. Typically, TNTs exhibit increased formation under conditions of cellular stress and are more prominent in cancer cells, where they are generally thought to be pro-metastatic and to provide growth and survival advantages. Cx43 has been described in TNTs, where it is thought to regulate small molecule diffusion through gap junctions. Here, we developed a high-fidelity CRISPR/Cas9 system to knockout (KO) Cx43. We found that loss of Cx43 expression was associated with significantly reduced TNT length and number in breast cancer cell lines. Notably, secreted factors present in conditioned medium stimulated TNTs more potently when derived from Cx43-expressing cells than from KO cells. Moreover, TNT formation was significantly induced by inhibition of several key cancer signaling pathways that both regulate Cx43 and are regulated by Cx43, including RhoA kinase (ROCK), protein kinase A (PKA), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and p38. Intriguingly, drug-induced stimulation of TNTs was more potent in Cx43 KO cells than in wild-type cells. In conclusion, this work describes a novel non-canonical role for Cx43 in regulating TNTs, identifies key cancer signaling pathways that regulate TNTs in this setting, and provides mechanistic insight into a pro-tumorigenic role of Cx43 in cancer.