Biochimica et biophysica acta

Channel-independent influence of connexin 43 on cell migration.

PMID 22155212


In this review we focus on the role of connexins, especially of Cx43, as modulators of migration - a fundamental process in embryogenesis and in physiologic functions of the adult organism. This impact of connexins is partly mediated by their function as intercellular channels but an increasing number of studies support the view that at least part of the effects are truly independent of the channel function. The channel-independent function comprises extrinsic guidance of migrating cells due to connexin mediated cell adhesion as well as intracellular processes. Cx43 has been shown to exert effects on migration by interfering with receptor signalling, cytoskeletal remodelling and tubulin dynamics. These effects are mainly dependent on the presence of the carboxyl tail of Cx43. The molecular basis of this channel-independent connexin function is still not yet fully understood but early results open an exciting view towards new functions of connexins in the cell. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: The Communicating junctions, composition, structure and characteristics.

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