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Conservation of a cytoplasmic carboxy-terminal domain of connexin 43, a gap junctional protein, in mammal heart and brain

Conservation of a cytoplasmic carboxy-terminal domain of connexin 43, a gap junctional protein, in mammal heart and brain

Journal of Membrane Biology 115(3): 229-240

ISSN/ISBN: 0022-2631

PMID: 2165170

DOI: 10.1007/bf01868638

According to the sequence of connexin 43, a cardiac gap junctional protein, the domain contained within residues 314-322 is located 60 amino acids away from the carboxy-terminus. Antibodies raised to a peptide corresponding to this domain label a unique 43-kD protein on immunoblots of both purified gap junctions and whole extracts from rat heart. Immunofluorescence investigations carried out on mammal heart sections reveal a pattern consistent with the known distribution of intercalated discs. Immunogold labeling performed with ultrahin frozen sections of rat heart or partially purified rat heart gap junctions demonstrate that antigenic determinants are associated exclusively with the cytoplasmic surfaces of gap junctions. The antibodies were shown to cross-react with a 43-kD protein on immunoblots of whole extracts from human, mouse and guinea pig heart. However, no labeling was seen when heart of lower vertebrates such as chicken, frog and trout, was investigated. These results, confirmed by immunofluorescence investigations, were interpreted as a loss of antigenic determinants due to sequence polymorphism of cardiac connexin 43. Proteins of Mr 43 and 41 kD, immunologically related to cardiac connexin 43, were detected in immunoblots of mouse and rat brain whole extracts. mRNAs, homologous to those of cardiac connexin 43 and of the same size (3.0 kb), are also present in brain. Immunofluorescence investigations with primary cultures of unpermeabilized and permeabilized mouse neural cells showed that the antigenic determinants recognized by the antibodies specific for connexin 43 are cytoplasmic and that the labeling observed between clustered flat cells, is punctate, as expected for gap junctions. Double labeling experiments demonstrated that the immunoreactivity is associated with GFAP-positive cells, that is to say, astrocytes.

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Accession: 039667320

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