Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Charles P. K. LaiEmail author
  • John F. Bechberger
  • Christian C. Naus
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4363-2


Pannexins are a second family of gap junction genes, distinct from connexins. However, in function they are similar to connexins, forming hemichannels, proteinaceous cylinders spanning the plasma membrane and encompassing a hydrophilic channel.


Overview. Until quite recently, only one mammalian family of gap junction genes had been identified, namely, the connexins. However, a novel family of mammalian gap junction genes with low sequence similarity to the invertebrate gap junctions, innexins (Inxs), has been discovered in chordates and termed pannexins (Panxs). Currently, three pannexin members (Papanicolaou test, Panx2, and Panx3) have been identified in vertebrates. Previous studies on Inx mutants in Drosophilahave demonstrated Inx-specific functions including synaptogenesis in the giant fiber system, epithelial organization and morphogenesis, and germ cell differentiation processes. The role of pannexins in mammalian cells and tissues has yet to be...


Extracellular Loop Junctional Coupling Suicide Gene Therapy Germ Cell Differentiation Gene Expression Database 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles P. K. Lai
    • 1
    Email author
  • John F. Bechberger
    • 1
  • Christian C. Naus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cellular and Physiological SciencesThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada