Cell and toxicant specific phosphorylation of conexin43: effects of lindane and TPA on rat myometrial and WB-F344 liver cell gap junctions
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Previous studies showed that the pesticide lindane (gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane) inhibits gap junction intercellular communication in rat myometrial cells. The present study tested the hypothesis that lindane and the phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) inhibit gap junction communication in rat myometrial and liver WBr-F344 cells by the common mechanism of increasing phosphorylation of the gap junction protein connexin43. We evaluated changes of connexin43 phosphorylation using Western blot of standard SDS-PAGE gels and cell immunostaining, and we monitored gap junction communication using microinjection and transfer of Lucifer yellow dye. Exposure of rat myometrial cells to lindane or TPA nearly abolished dye transfer but did not alter the electrophoretic mobility of connexin43, and neither lindane nor TPA increased phosphorylation of connexin43 as assessed by immunoblot with anti-phospho-connexin43 (S368) antibody. However, TPA increased punctate immunofluorescence staining of phospho-connexin43 (S368) in myometrial cells whereas lindane had no such effect. In WBr-F344 cells, lindane and TPA inhibited dye transfer. Lindane increased immunostaining for phospho-connexin43 (S368) in WBr-F344 cells without altering the abundance, electrophoretic mobility or phosphorylation of connexin43 as detected in immunoblots. TPA intensified a slower migrating connexin43 band and increased phospho-connexin43 (S368) in immunoblots, and intensified phospho-connexin43 immunostaining at WBr-F344 cell interfaces and nuclear regions. These results show that phosphorylation of connexin43 at serine 368 occurred in cell and toxicant specific manners and was independent of changes in electrophoretic mobility in standard SDS-PAGE gels. Moreover, lindane inhibited gap junction communication in myometrial cells by a mechanism that was not be explained by changes in phosphorylation of connexin43.
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