Connexin hemichannels display two distinct forms of voltage-dependent gating, corresponding to the operation of Vj- or fast gates and loop- or slow gates. The carboxyl terminus (CT) of connexin 32 has been reported to be required for the operation of the Vj (fast) gates, but this conclusion was inferred from the loss of a fast kinetic component in macroscopic currents of CT-truncated intercellular channels elicited by transjunctional voltage. Such inferences are complicated by presence of both fast and slow gates in each hemichannel and the serial head-to-head arrangement of these gates in the intercellular channel. Examination of voltage gating in undocked hemichannels and Vj gate polarity reversal by a negative charge substitution (N2E) in the amino terminal domain allow unequivocal separation of the two gating processes in a Cx32 chimera (Cx32*43E1). This chimera expresses currents as an undocked hemichannel in Xenopus oocytes and provides a model system to study the molecular determinants and mechanisms of Cx32 voltage gating. Here, we demonstrate that both Vj- and loop gates are operational in a truncation mutation that removes all but the first four CT residues (ACAR219) of the Cx32*43E1 hemichannel. We conclude that an operational Cx32 Vj (fast) gate does not require CT residues 220-283, as reported previously by others.
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