Gap Junction Expression in Myelinating Cells

  • Rolf Dermietzel
Conference paper


Gap junctions comprise intercellular channels which allow the direct exchange of small metabolites (glucose, nucleotides, amino acids, etc) as well as the transmission of ions for propagating electrical currents [for reviews see 1, 2]. Accumulating evidence indicates that the biophysical properties of the gap junction channels are variable according to the specific protein complement that forms the channel [3]. The gap junction proteins, collectively called connexins, are oligomerized in hexamers (connexons) which form hemichannels in plasma membranes. When docked to a partner connexon a competent gap junction channel is formed which spans the two adjoining plasma membranes. At present thirteen members of the connexin family have been cloned and their tissue specific expression has been determined [for review see 1]. In the central and peripheral nervous system connexins are differentially expressed with respect to cell specificity and developmental stage [4]. Oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells, the myelin forming cells in the peripheral and central nervous system, have been described to express connexin32 [4, 5], which was first identified and cloned form rodent and human liver cDNAs [ 6, 7]. The biophysical properties of the gap junction channel formed by connexin32 have been extensively studied. Cell lines, stabely transfected with the connexin32 gene revealed a unitary conductance of the connexin32 channel in the range of 120 pS, showed voltage dependence, and pH sensitivity [8, 9]. From a functional point of view it is of considerable interest that the connexin32 channel is permeable to second messenger including calcium and IP3, and that the strength of coupling is modulated by a PKA dependent phosphorylation [10].


Schwann Cell Myelin Sheath Myelinating Cell Connexin32 Expression Connexin32 Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dermietzel, R. and Spray, D.C., Gap Junctions in the brain: where, what type, how many and why, Trends in Neurosci., 16 (1993) 186–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beyer, E.C., Gap Junctions, Int. Rev. Cytol., 137 (1993) 1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Spray, D.C., Moreno, A. P., Eghbali, B., Chanson, M. and Fishman, G. I. Gating of gap junction channels as revealed in cells stably transfected with wild type and mutant connexin cDNAs, Biophys. J., 62 (1992) 48–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dermietzel, R, Traub, O., Hwang, T. K., Beyer, E., Bennett, M.V.L. and Spray, D. C. Differential expression of three gap junction proteins in developing and mature brain tissue, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 86 (1989) 10148–10152.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bergoffen, J., Scherer, S.S., Wang, S., Scott, M. and Bone, L.J, Paul, D.L., Chen, K., Lensch, M.W., Chance, P.F. and Fischbeck, K.H., Connexin mutations in X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Science, 262 (1993). 2039–2042.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kumar, N.M. and Gilula, N.B., Cloning and characterization of human and rat liver cDNAs coding for a gap junction protein, J. Cell Biol., 103 (1986) 767–776.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Paul, D. C., Molecular cloning of cDNA for rat liver gap junction protein. J. Cell Biol., (1986) 103, 123–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Moreno, A.P., Eghbali, B. and Spray, D.C., Connexin 32 gap junction channels in stably transfected cells: Equilibrium and kinetic properties, Biophys. J., 60 (1991) 1267–1277.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Spray, D.C., Ginsberg, R.D., Morales, E.A., Gatmaitan, Z. and Arias, I.M., Electro-physiological properties of gap junctions between dissociated pairs of rat hepatocytes, J. Cell Biol. 103 (1986) 135–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Saez, J.C., Connor, J.A. and Spray, D.C., Hepatocytes gap junction are permeable to the second messengers inositol 1, 4, 5 phosphate and calcium ions, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA, 86 (1989) 2708–2712.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Spray, D.C. and Dermietzel, R., X-linked dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and other potential gap-junction diseases of the nervous system, Trends Neurosci., 18 (1995) 265–262.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Giaume, C., Fromaget, C., Aoumari, A.E., Cordier, J., Glowinski, J. and Gros, D., Gap junctions in cultured astrocytes: Single-channel currents and characterization of channel forming protein, Neuron, 6 (1991) 133–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dermietzel, R., Hertzberg, E.L., Kessler, J.A. and Spray, D.C., Gap junctions between cultured astrocytes: Immunocytochemical, molecular, and electrophysiological characterization, J. Neurosci., 11 (1991) 1421–1432.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bunge, R.P., Glial cells and the central myelin sheath, Physiol. Rev., 48(1968) 197–251.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Peters, A. and Vaughn, J.E., Morphology and the development of the myelin sheath, In: Myelination, Davidson, A.N. and Peters, A., (eds.), 1970, Charles C. Thomas: Springfield, 111. 3–79.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Matthews, M.A. and Duncan, D., A quantitative study of the morphological changes accompanying the initiation of myelin production in the peripheral nercous system, J. Comp. Neurol., 142 (1971) 1–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Knobler, R.L., Stempak, J.G. and Laurencin, M., Nonuniformity of the oligodendriglial ensheathment of axons during myelination in the developing rat central nervous system. J. Ultrastruct. Res., 55 (1976) 417–432.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bunge, R.P., The development of myelin and myelin-related cells, Trends Neurosci., 4 (1981) 175–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Neumcke, B. and Staempfli, R., Sodium currents and sodium-current fluctuations in rat myelinated nerve fibres, J. Phsiol., 329 (1982) 163–184.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dermietzel, R., Schunke, D. and Leibstein, A., The oligodendrocytic junctional complex, Cell Tiss. Res., 193 (1978) 61–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tetzlaff, W., Tight junction contact events and temporary gap junctions in the sciatic nerve fibres of the chicken during Wallerian degeneration and subsequent regeneration, J Neurocytol., 11 (1982) 839–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schnapp, B. and Mugnaini, E., Membrane architecture of myelinated fibers as seen by freeze-fracture, In: Physiology and Pathobiology of axons, Waxman, S.G. Waxman (ed.) 1978, Raven Press: New York. 83-123.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hertzberg, E.L. and Skibbens, V., A protein homologous to the 27,000 dalton liver gap junction protein is present in a wide variety of species and tissue, Cell, 59 (1984) 61-69.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dermietzel, R., Leibstein, A., Frixen, U., Janssen-Timmen, U., Traub, O. and Willecke, K. Gap junctions in several tissues share antigenic determinants with liver gap junctions, Embo J., 3 (1984) 2261–2270.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Paul, D.L., Ebihara, L., Takemoto, L.J., Sumson, K.J. and Goodenough, D. A., Connexin46, a novel lens gap junction protein, induces voltage- gated currents in nonjunctional plasma membrane of Xenopus oocytes, J. Cell Biol., 115 (1991) 1077–1989PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    DeVries, S.H. and Schwartz, E.A., Modulation of an electrical synapse betwen solitary pairs of catfish horizontal cells by dopamine and second messengers, J. Physiol., (Lond.), 414 (1989) 351–375.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Beyer, E.C. and Steinberg, T.H., Evidence that the gap junction protein connexin-43 is the ATP- induced pore of mouse macrophages, J. Biol. Chem., 266 (1991) 7971–7974.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Gupta, S.K., Poduslo, J.F. and Mezei, C., Temporal changes in Po and MBP gene expression after crush injury of the adult peripheral nerve, Mol. Brain Res., 4 (1988)133–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Massa, P.T. and Mugnaini, E., Cell-cell interactions and characteristic plasma membrane features of cultured rat glial cells, Neurosci., 14 (1985) 695–709 Neuroscience. 1985.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kettenmann, H. and Ransom, B.R., Electrical coupling between astrocytes and between oligodendrocytes studied in mammalian ceil cultures, Glia, 1 (1988) 64 – 73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Robinson, S.R, Hampson, E. C., Munro, M. N. and Vaney, D. I. Unidirectional coupling of gap junctions between neuroglia, Science, 262 (1993) 1072–1074.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf Dermietzel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of AnatomyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

Personalised recommendations