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XB-ART-47962
PLoS One January 1, 2013; 8 (8): e70916.
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Analysis of trafficking, stability and function of human connexin 26 gap junction channels with deafness-causing mutations in the fourth transmembrane helix.

Ambrosi C , Walker AE , Depriest AD , Cone AC , Lu C , Badger J , Skerrett IM , Sosinsky GE .


Abstract
Human Connexin26 gene mutations cause hearing loss. These hereditary mutations are the leading cause of childhood deafness worldwide. Mutations in gap junction proteins (connexins) can impair intercellular communication by eliminating protein synthesis, mis-trafficking, or inducing channels that fail to dock or have aberrant function. We previously identified a new class of mutants that form non-functional gap junction channels and hemichannels (connexons) by disrupting packing and inter-helix interactions. Here we analyzed fourteen point mutations in the fourth transmembrane helix of connexin26 (Cx26) that cause non-syndromic hearing loss. Eight mutations caused mis-trafficking (K188R, F191L, V198M, S199F, G200R, I203K, L205P, T208P). Of the remaining six that formed gap junctions in mammalian cells, M195T and A197S formed stable hemichannels after isolation with a baculovirus/Sf9 protein purification system, while C202F, I203T, L205V and N206S formed hemichannels with varying degrees of instability. The function of all six gap junction-forming mutants was further assessed through measurement of dye coupling in mammalian cells and junctional conductance in paired Xenopus oocytes. Dye coupling between cell pairs was reduced by varying degrees for all six mutants. In homotypic oocyte pairings, only A197S induced measurable conductance. In heterotypic pairings with wild-type Cx26, five of the six mutants formed functional gap junction channels, albeit with reduced efficiency. None of the mutants displayed significant alterations in sensitivity to transjunctional voltage or induced conductive hemichannels in single oocytes. Intra-hemichannel interactions between mutant and wild-type proteins were assessed in rescue experiments using baculovirus expression in Sf9 insect cells. Of the four unstable mutations (C202F, I203T, L205V, N206S) only C202F and N206S formed stable hemichannels when co-expressed with wild-type Cx26. Stable M195T hemichannels displayed an increased tendency to aggregate. Thus, mutations in TM4 cause a range of phenotypes of dysfunctional gap junction channels that are discussed within the context of the X-ray crystallographic structure.

PubMed ID: 23967136
PMC ID: PMC3744544
Article link: PLoS One
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: dnai1 gjb2 tpm3


Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Ambrosi, Analysis of four connexin26 mutant gap junctions and hemichannels reveals variations in hexamer stability. 2010, Pubmed, Xenbase