XB-ART-5977FEBS Lett 2003 Jan 02;5331-3:79-88. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(02)03755-9.
Show Gene links Show Anatomy links
Loss-of-function and residual channel activity of connexin26 mutations associated with non-syndromic deafness.
Connexins are the protein subunits of gap junction channels that allow a direct signaling pathway between networks of cells. The specific role of connexin channels in the homeostasis of different organs has been validated by the association of mutations in several human connexins with a variety of genetic diseases. Several connexins are present in the mammalian cochlea and at least four of them have been proposed as genes causing sensorineural hearing loss. We have started our functional analysis by selecting nine mutations in Cx26 that are associated with non-syndromic recessive deafness (DFNB1). We have observed that both human Cx26 wild-type (HCx26wt) and the F83L polymorphism, found in unaffected controls, generated electrical conductance between paired Xenopus oocytes, which was several orders of magnitude greater than that measured in water-injected controls. In contrast, most recessive Cx26 mutations (identified in DFNB1 patients) resulted in a simple loss of channel activity. In addition, the V37I mutation, originally identified as a polymorphism in heterozygous unaffected individuals, was devoid of function and thus may be pathologically significant. Unexpectedly, we have found that the recessive mutation V84L retained functional activity in both paired Xenopus oocytes and transfected HeLa cells. Furthermore, both the magnitude of macroscopic junctional conductance and its voltage-gating properties were indistinguishable from those of HCx26wt. The identification of functional differences of disease causing mutations may lead to define which permeation or gating properties of Cx26 are necessary for normal auditory function in humans and will be instrumental in identifying the molecular steps leading to DFNB1.
PubMed ID: 12505163
Article link: FEBS Lett
Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: gjb2