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Connexin43 (Cx43) is the most ubiquitous gap junction protein in the human body and is essential for cell-to-cell communication in a variety of organs and organ systems. As a result, Cx43 is responsible for mediating both electrical and chemical signals, passing dissolved solutes and small signaling molecules between cells in a coordinated fashion. Here, we explore the electrophysiological properties of hemichannels formed from Cx43 and Cx43 fused to eGFP (Cx43eGFP) and their interactions in a planar lipid membrane (BLM). Unlike in vivo patch clamp experiments, Cx43 was purified and isolated from other membrane constituents allowing elucidation of individual protein responses to various electrical and chemical stimuli. Using this system, we examined hemichannel electrophysiology and the roles of several well-known gap junction blockers, namely: lanthanum, heptanol, carbenoxalone and lindane. We also observed a critical number of hemichannels required for an accelerated conductance increase, an emergent electrical signature indicative of plaque formation.


Cole Brokamp, Jacob Todd, Carlo Montemagno, David Wendell. Electrophysiology of single and aggregate Cx43 hemichannels. PloS one. 2012;7(10):e47775

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PMID: 23112846

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