Decreased gap-junctional communication associated with segregation of the neuronal phenotype in the RT4 cell-line family

Laurel M. Donahue, Daniel R. Webster, Ivvanee Martinez, David C. Spray

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6 Scopus citations


RT4 is a family of cell lines derived from a rat peripheral neurotumor. The RT4 family consists of a multipotential stem-cell line that spontaneously gives rise to three derivative cell types, one glial and two neuronal. The three derivative cell types are capable of further lineage-specific maturation under appropriate culture conditions. Gap-junctional communication is postulated to be important during nervous-system development by allowing and/or controlling the transmission of both electrical current and signaling molecules, which may affect growth and differentiation. Our characterization of gap-junctional communication in the RT4 cell line family revealed that: (1) the glial-derivative and the stem-cell line were extensively coupled, while the two neuronal derivatives were significantly less coupled, and (2) all of the RT4 cell lines, including the stem-cell line, expressed Cx43 mRNA and protein, and the levels were generally consistent with the observed degree of functional coupling. These observations are consistent with data from in vivo studies and establish the RT4 cell line family as a potentially useful in vitro model system for understanding the role(s) of gap-junctional communication during differentiation in the peripheral nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 14 1998



  • Connexin
  • Cx43
  • Differentiation
  • Neural crest
  • Neural development
  • Peripheral nervous system
  • Stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

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