Cx43 Hemichannels: Gating, Modification and Function

  • Bennett, Michael V. L. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Gap junctions are formed of two hemichannels (or connexons), one from each of the apposed cells. Hemi- channels are formed in the ER or a post ER compartment and inserted into the surface with little localization. They diffuse over the surface to dock with a partner in an apposed membrane and then open. Non-junctional surface hemichannels are for the most part closed, which is reasonable in view of their large conductance and relatively non-specific permeability. However some hemichannels open in physiological or pathological conditions. Cx43, a prevalent connexin in many tissues, has been little characterized in respect to hemi- channel opening. This application proposes to ameliorate that deficiency. Techniques include time lapse recording of dye uptake, recording of single channel activity, isolation of surface Cx43 by biotinylation/ NeutrAvidin pull down, Western blot analysis and site directed mutagenesis. Aim 1 is to analyze gating of Cx43 hemichannels as a function of voltage and reduced divalent ion concentration. Aim 2 is to identify sites of modification of Cx43 by oxidizing and reducing agents and by metabolic inhibition (Ml), treatments that affect voltage dependence and open probability. Ml and NO donors induce S-nitrosylation of Cx43, an effect blocked by reducing agents such as DTT. Truncation that removes all cytoplasmic cysteines greatly atten- uates the effect of metabolic inhibition. Now we will remove the cysteines individually and in combination. We will assay phosphorylation of surface hemichannels (isolated by biotinylation) to determine relation to effects of metabolic inhibition. Phosphorylation at several sites modulates gating but does not affect responses to Ml. Aim 3 is to localize the relative position of the gate closed by acidification with the H3O+ binding site. Preliminary data indicate that the site on the cytoplasmic side of the gate, i.e. weak, membrane permeant acids rapidly and reversibly block the hemichannels, and strong, relatively membrane impermeant acids do not block hemichannels until they open. Aim 4 is to extend these data to astrocytes, both in culture and in brain slices. Our preliminary data indicate high degree of similarity in culture. These studies should clarify controls of Cx43 hemichannel opening in physiological and pathological conditions. Cx43 is the primary connexin expressed by astrocytes;responses to metabolic challenge will relate to the clinical conditions of focal and global ischemia in the CNS, where the role of astrocytes remains largely unexplored.
Effective start/end date9/1/076/30/13


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: $323,544.00
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: $326,813.00
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: $326,813.00
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: $326,813.00
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: $320,277.00


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