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Connexin hemichannels play an important role in the control of cellular signaling and behaviors. Given that lowering extracellular Ca2+, a condition that activates hemichannels, is a well-characterized stimulator of renin in juxtaglomerular cells, we, therefore, tested a potential implication of hemichannels in the regulation of renin in As4.1 renin-secreting cells. Lowering extracellular Ca2+ induced hemichannel opening, which was associated with cAMP signaling pathway activation and increased renin production. Blockade of hemichannels with inhibitors or downregulation of Cxs with siRNAs abrogated the activation of cAMP pathway and the elevation of renin. Further analysis revealed that cAMP pathway activation was blocked by adenylyl cyclase inhibitor SQ 22536, suggesting an implication of adenyl cyclase. Furthermore, the participation of hemichannels in the activation of the cAMP signaling pathway was also observed in a renal tubular epithelial cell line NRK. Collectively, our results characterized the hemichannel opening as a presently unrecognized molecular event involved in low Ca2+-elicited activation of cAMP pathway and renin production. Our findings thus provide novel mechanistic insights into the low Ca2+-initiated cell responses. Given the importance of cAMP signaling pathway in the control of multiple cellular functions, our findings also highlight the importance of Cx-forming channels in various pathophysiological situations.


Jingru Hong, Jian Yao. Connexin Hemichannels Contribute to the Activation of cAMP Signaling Pathway and Renin Production. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Jun 23;21(12)

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PMID: 32585970

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