To study the organization of gap junctions in living cells, the connexin isotypes alpha(1)(Cx43), beta(1)(Cx32) and beta(2)(Cx26) were tagged with the autofluorescent tracer green fluorescent protein (GFP) and its cyan (CFP) and yellow (YFP) color variants. The cellular fate of the tagged connexins was followed by high-resolution fluorescence deconvolution microscopy and time-lapse imaging. Comprehensive analyses demonstrated that the tagged channels were functional as monitored by dye transfer, even under conditions where the channels were assembled solely from tagged connexins. High-resolution images revealed a detailed structural organization, and volume reconstructions provided a three-dimensional view of entire gap junction plaques. Specifically, deconvolved dual-color images of gap junction plaques assembled from CFP- and YFP-tagged connexins revealed that different connexin isotypes gathered within the same plaques. Connexins either codistributed homogeneously throughout the plaque, or each connexin isotype segregated into well-separated domains. The studies demonstrate that the mode of channel distribution strictly depends on the connexin isotypes. Based on previous studies on the synthesis and assembly of connexins I suggest that channel distribution is regulated by intrinsic connexin isotype specific signals.
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JOURNAL ARTICLE| 15 November 2000
Connexin-specific distribution within gap junctions revealed in living cells
Online Issn: 1477-9137
Print Issn: 0021-9533
© 2000 by Company of Biologists
J Cell Sci (2000) 113 (22): 4109–4120.
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M.M. Falk; Connexin-specific distribution within gap junctions revealed in living cells. J Cell Sci 15 November 2000; 113 (22): 4109–4120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.113.22.4109
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