Characterization of the structure and intermolecular interactions between the connexin 32 carboxyl-terminal domain and the protein partners synapse-associated protein 97 and calmodulin

Kelly Stauch, Fabien Kieken, Paul Sorgen

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24 Scopus citations


In Schwann cells, connexin 32 (Cx32) can oligomerize to form intracellular gap junction channels facilitating a shorter pathway for metabolite diffusion across the layers of the myelin sheath. The mechanisms of Cx32 intracellular channel regulation have not been clearly defined. However, Ca2+, pH, and the phosphorylation state can regulate Cx32 gap junction channels, in addition to the direct interaction of protein partners with the carboxyl-terminal (CT) domain. In this study, we used different biophysical methods to determine the structure and characterize the interaction of the Cx32CT domain with the protein partners synapse-associated protein 97 (SAP97) and calmodulin (CaM). Our results revealed that the Cx32CT is an intrinsically disordered protein that becomes α-helical upon binding CaM. We identified the GUK domain as the minimal SAP97 region necessary for the Cx32CT interaction. The Cx32CT residues affected by the binding of CaM and the SAP97 GUK domain were determined as well as the dissociation constants for these interactions. We characterized three Cx32CT Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease mutants (R219H, R230C, and F235C) and identified that whereas they all formed functional channels, they all showed reduced binding affinity for SAP97 and CaM. Additionally, we report that in RT4-D6P2T rat schwannoma cells, Cx32 is differentially phosphorylated and exists in a complex with SAP97 and CaM. Our studies support the importance of protein-protein interactions in the regulation of Cx32 gap junction channels and myelin homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27771-27788
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 10 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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