Selective Monoclonal Antibody Recognition and Cellular Localization of an Unphosphorylated Form of Connexin43 Academic Article uri icon

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  • A sequence-specific monoclonal antibody directed against the gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43) is shown here to be specific for the unphosphorylated form of this protein. In tissues and cultured cells containing different phosphorylated and unphosphorylated forms of Cx43, the antibody detected only the latter as shown by Western blotting of native and alkaline phosphatase-treated samples. Immunohistochemically, this monoclonal antibody did not recognize gap junctions in the vast majority of cultured cardiac myocytes, where nearly all detectable Cx43 is phosphorylated. In contrast, it was able to detect some intracellular Cx43 in tracheal smooth muscle cells and an epithelial cell line (Cl-9 cells), producing patterns of labeling consistent with those seen using a polyclonal antibody that recognizes both phosphorylated and unphosphorylated forms of Cx43. Immunostaining of gap junctions in the cultured cells indicates that both phosphorylated and unphosphorylated Cx43 are present in some assembled gap junctions, suggesting that assembled junctions do not contain exclusively the phosphorylated form of the protein. Annular gap junctions, believed to form as part of the pathway for internalization and degradation of gap junctions, were only occasionally and sparsely labeled by the monoclonal antibody, indicating that complete protein dephosphorylation is not required for uptake and degradation of gap junctions. Furthermore, the ability of this antibody to recognize only unphosphorylated Cx43, and not any of the phosphorylated forms present in the tissues and cell types examined, suggests that a unique phosphorylation site, perhaps present in the epitope recognized by this antibody, must be phosphorylated prior to phosphorylation of Cx43 at other sites.


  • Nagy, JI
  • Li, WEI
  • Roy, C
  • Doble, Bradley
  • Gilchrist, JS
  • Kardami, E
  • Hertzberg, EL

publication date

  • October 1997

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