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Connexin43 modulates cell polarity and directional cell migration by regulating microtubule dynamics

Francis, R and Xu, X and Park, H and Wei, CJ and Chang, S and Chatterjee, B and Lo, C (2011) Connexin43 modulates cell polarity and directional cell migration by regulating microtubule dynamics. PLoS ONE, 6 (10).

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Knockout mice deficient in the gap junction gene connexin43 exhibit developmental anomalies associated with abnormal neural crest, primordial germ cell, and proepicardial cell migration. These migration defects are due to a loss of directional cell movement, and are associated with abnormal actin stress fiber organization and a loss of polarized cell morphology. To elucidate the mechanism by which Cx43 regulates cell polarity, we used a wound closure assays with mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) to examine polarized cell morphology and directional cell movement. Studies using embryonic fibroblasts from Cx43 knockout (Cx43KO) mice showed Cx43 deficiency caused cell polarity defects as characterized by a failure of the Golgi apparatus and the microtubule organizing center to reorient with the direction of wound closure. Actin stress fibers at the wound edge also failed to appropriately align, and stabilized microtubule (Glu-tubulin) levels were markedly reduced. Forced expression of Cx43 with deletion of its tubulin-binding domain (Cx43dT) in both wildtype MEFs and neural crest cell explants recapitulated the cell migration defects seen in Cx43KO cells. However, forced expression of Cx43 with point mutation causing gap junction channel closure had no effect on cell motility. TIRF imaging revealed increased microtubule instability in Cx43KO cells, and microtubule targeting of membrane localized Cx43 was reduced with expression of Cx43dT construct in wildtype cells. Together, these findings suggest the essential role of Cx43 gap junctions in development is mediated by regulation of the tubulin cytoskeleton and cell polarity by Cx43 via a nonchannel function.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Francis, Rrfrancis@pitt.eduRFRANCIS
Xu, X
Park, H
Wei, CJ
Chang, S
Chatterjee, B
Lo, Ccel36@pitt.eduCEL36
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Date: 21 October 2011
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 6
Number: 10
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026379
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Developmental Biology
Refereed: Yes
MeSH Headings: Animals; Cell Membrane--metabolism; Cell Movement; Cell Polarity; Connexin 43--chemistry; Connexin 43--deficiency; Connexin 43--metabolism; Fibroblasts--cytology; Fibroblasts--metabolism; Gap Junctions--metabolism; Golgi Apparatus--metabolism; Green Fluorescent Proteins--metabolism; Luminescent Proteins--metabolism; Mice; Mice, Knockout; Microscopy, Fluorescence; Microtubule-Organizing Center--metabolism; Microtubules--metabolism; NIH 3T3 Cells; Neural Crest--cytology; Neural Crest--metabolism; Protein Binding; Protein Structure, Tertiary; Protein Transport; Recombinant Fusion Proteins--metabolism; Tubulin--metabolism; Wound Healing
Other ID: NLM PMC3194834
PubMed Central ID: PMC3194834
PubMed ID: 22022608
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2012 21:10
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2020 13:01


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