Multiple connexins contribute to intercellular communication in the Xenopus embryo.

Journal of cell science

PubMedID: 12456713

Landesman Y, Postma FR, Goodenough DA, Paul DL. Multiple connexins contribute to intercellular communication in the Xenopus embryo. J Cell Sci. 2003;116(Pt 1):29-38.
To explore the role of gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) during Xenopus embryogenesis, we utilized the host-transfer and antisense techniques to specifically deplete Cx38, the only known maternally expressed connexin. Cx38-depleted embryos developed normally but displayed robust GJIC between blastomeres at 32-128 cell stages, suggesting the existence of other maternal connexins. Analysis of embryonic cDNA revealed maternal expression of two novel connexins, Cx31 and Cx43.4, and a third, Cx43, that had been previously identified as a product of zygotic transcription. Thus, the early Xenopus embryo contains at least four maternal connexins. Unlike Cx38, expression of Cx31, Cx43 and Cx43.4 continue zygotically. Of these, Cx43.4 is the most abundant, accumulating significantly in neural structures including the brain, the eyes and the spinal cord.