Connexins and the epithelial tissue barrier: a focus on Connexin 26

Laura García-Vega, Erin M. O'Shaughnessy, Ahmad Alboulshi, Patricia E. Martin

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Abstract

Epithelial tissue responds rapidly to environmental triggers and is constantly renewed. This tissue is also highly accessible for therapeutic targeting. This review highlights the role of connexin mediated communication in avascular epithelial tissue. These proteins form communication conduits with the extracellular space (hemichannels) and between neighboring cells (gap junctions). Regulated exchange of small metabolites less than 1kDa aide the co-ordination of cellular activities and in spatial communication compartments segregating tissue networks. Dysregulation of connexin expression and function has profound impact on physiological processes in epithelial tissue including wound healing. Connexin 26, one of the smallest connexins, is expressed in diverse epithelial tissue and mutations in this protein are associated with hearing loss, skin and eye conditions of differing severity. The functional consequences of dysregulated connexin activity is discussed and the development of connexin targeted therapeutic strategies highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Number of pages19
JournalBiology
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Connexin
  • Epithelial tissue
  • Gap junction
  • Purinergic signaling

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