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Astrocytes have a role in maintaining normal neuronal functions, some of which depend on connexins, protein subunits of gap junction channels and hemichannels. Under inflammatory conditions, microglia release cytokines, including interleukin-1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, that reduce intercellular communication via gap junctions. Now, we demonstrate(More)
Spinal astrocytes are coupled by connexin (Cx) gap junctions and express pannexin 1 (Px1) and purinergic receptors. Fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF-1), which is released in spinal cord injury, activated spinal astrocytes in culture, induced secretion of ATP, and permeabilized them to relatively large fluorescent tracers [ethidium (Etd) and lucifer yellow(More)
Connexins (Cxs) form hemichannels and gap junction channels. Each gap junction channel is composed of two hemichannels, also termed connexons, one from each of the coupled cells. Hemichannels are hexamers assembled in the ER, the Golgi, or a post Golgi compartment. They are transported to the cell surface in vesicles and inserted by vesicle fusion, and then(More)
Connexins are protein subunits that oligomerize into hexamers called connexons, gap junction hemichannels or just hemichannels. Because some gap junction channels are permeable to negatively and/or positively charged molecules up to approximately 1kDa in size, it was thought that hemichannels should not open to the extracellular space. A growing amount of(More)
Recent in vitro evidence indicates that astrocytes can modulate synaptic plasticity by releasing neuroactive substances (gliotransmitters). However, whether gliotransmitter release from astrocytes is necessary for higher brain function in vivo, particularly for memory, as well as the contribution of connexin (Cx) hemichannels to gliotransmitter release,(More)
Coordinated interaction among cells is critical to develop the extremely complex and dynamic tasks performed by the central nervous system (CNS). Cell synchronization is in part mediated by connexins and pannexins; two different protein families that form gap junction channels and hemichannels. Whereas gap junction channels connect the cytoplasm of(More)
Microglia are the immune cells in the central nervous system. After injury microglia release bioactive molecules, including cytokines and ATP, which modify the functional state of hemichannels (HCs) and gap junction channels (GJCs), affecting the intercellular communication via extracellular and intracellular compartments, respectively. Here, we studied the(More)
About a decade ago, the molecular determinants controlling the opening and closing of Cx43 gap junction channels have been identified. Advanced biophysical approaches revealed a critical role for structural rearrangements in the cytoplasmic loop and dimerization of the C-terminal tail, resulting in binding of the C-terminal tail to the cytoplasmic loop and(More)
Satellite glial cells (SGCs) are the main glia in sensory ganglia. They surround neuronal bodies and form a cap that prevents the formation of chemical or electrical synapses between neighboring neurons. SGCs have been suggested to establish bidirectional paracrine communication with sensory neurons. However, the molecular mechanism involved in this(More)
Gap junction channels (GJCs) and hemichannels (HCs) are composed of protein subunits termed connexins (Cxs) and are permeable to ions and small molecules. In most organs, GJCs communicate the cytoplasm of adjacent cells, while HCs communicate the intra and extracellular compartments. In this way, both channel types coordinate physiological responses of cell(More)