The carboxy-tail of connexin-43 localizes to the nucleus and inhibits cell growth.
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Gap junctions are plasma membrane intercellular communication channels that in addition to ensuring electrical coupling and coordinated mechanical activity, can act as growth suppressors. To define the role of a non-channel forming domain of connexin-43 (Cx43), the main constituent of cardiomyocyte gap junctions, on growth regulation, we expressed its C-terminal portion (CT-Cx43) in cardiomyocytes and HeLa cells. In addition to broad cytoplasmic localization, CT-Cx43 was also localized to the nucleus of both cell types, detected by immunofluorescence as well as immunoblotting of subcellular fractions. Furthermore, stable expression of CT-Cx43 in HeLa cells induced a significant decrease in proliferation. It is therefore suggested that plasma membrane localization and formation of channels are not required for growth inhibition by Cx43, and that nuclear localization of CT-Cx43 may exert effects on gene expression and growth.
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