Neuronal Gap Junctions: Cx36 Gating, Binding &Function

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Electrical synapses between neurons are
formed by gap junction channels, through which ions and metabolites pass
directly from one cell to the next. Recent evidence indicates that other
proteins are associated with connexins at gap junctions, and we have termed
this macromolecular complex the Nexus. We hypothesize that the Nexus components
may regulate both the properties of the gap junction channels and also may
function in intracellular signal transduction. A new gap junction protein,
connexin36, has been identified that is largely restricted in its expression to
neurons, and we have shown that the channels formed by this connexin have
properties that seem to uniquely suit it as a neuronal connexin. The goals of
this grant application are to characterize the gating, permeability and
conductance properties with regard to the protein domains involved, to identify
other proteins in brain and neuron lysates that bind to connexin36, measure the
strengths of interaction using surface plasmon resonance, and perform
physiological experiments on neuron-like cells to determine the effects of Cx36
expression on neuronal differentiation and gene expression patterns. In
addition, a major goal of this application is to obtain structural information
using spectroscopic methods regarding domains of Cx36 that interact with each
other and with other proteins. These studies use a multidisciplinary approach
directed at exploring a new concept in the field and as such are expected to
lead to novel understanding of regulation and roles of gap junctions in the
nervous system.
Effective start/end date2/1/021/31/08


  • Cell Biology
  • Medicine(all)
  • Spectroscopy
  • Neuroscience(all)


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