Array analysis of gene expression in connexin-43 null astrocytes

Dumitru A. Iacobas, Marcia Urban-Maldonado, Sanda Iacobas, Eliana Scemes, David C. Spray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Connexin-43 (Cx43) is the most abundant gap junction protein in brain, where it is found primarily between astrocytes. Although the morphology of astrocytes from Cx43-null (knockout, KO) mice is similar to that of wild-type (WT) astrocytes, KO astrocytes exhibit reduced growth rate in culture. To evaluate the impact of deletion of Cx43 on other genes, including those encoding cell cycle proteins, we used DNA arrays to determine expression patterns in cultured astrocytes from sibling Cx43-null and WT mice. RNA samples extracted from astrocytes cultured from WT and Cx43-null neonatal mice were dye labeled and individually cohybridized with a reference of labeled cDNAs pooled from a variety of tissues on 8 gene arrays containing 8,975 mouse DNA sequences. Normal variability in expression of each gene was evaluated and incorporated into "expression scores" to statistically compare expression levels between WT and KO samples. In Cx43-null astrocytes, 4.1% of the 4,998 adequately quantifiable spots were found to have significantly (P < 0.05) decreased hybridization compared with controls, and 9.4% of the spots showed significantly higher hybridization. The significantly different spots corresponded to RNAs encoding 252 known proteins, many not previously linked to gap junctions, including transcription factors, channels and transporters, cell growth and death signals, enzymes and cell adhesion molecules. These data indicate a surprisingly high degree of impact of deletion of Cx43 on other astrocyte genes, implying that gap junction gene expression alters numerous processes in addition to intercellular communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-190
Number of pages14
JournalPhysiological genomics
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • DNA array
  • Gap junction
  • Glia
  • Intercellular communication
  • Knockout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


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