Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Connexins

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_1317-2

Definition

Connexins are proteins which assemble into channels that allow for small molecules to pass directly from one cell to another.

Characteristics

The family of connexin (Cx) proteins is composed of 21 members in humans. All connexins (Cx32 and Cx26) share common features of assembling into connexons also called “hemichannels” consisting of six subunits of the same or different connexins (Fig. 1). Hemichannels from apposing cells dock and the resulting channels cluster into a junctional complex known as a Gap junction or often referred to as a gap junction plaque. Gap junctions allow for the direct intercellular exchange of secondary messengers and other small molecules, a process termed gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) (Fig. 1). Gap junctions have a ubiquitous distribution in human tissues, and these specialized intercellular channels are essential for normal cell function, proper cell differentiation, tissue development, metabolic transport, ion transfer, and...

Keywords

Cell Growth Control Connexin Expression Connexin Gene Congenital Hearing Loss Detrimental Side Effect 
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.
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References

  1. Laird DW (2006) Life cycle of connexins in health and disease. Biochem J 394:527–543CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Mesnil M, Crespin S, Avanzo JL et al (2005) Defective gap junctional intercellular communication in the carcinogenic process. Biochim Biophys Acta 1719:125–145CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Petersen MB, Willems PJ (2006) Non-syndromic, autosomal-recessive deafness. Clin Genet 69:371–392CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada