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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)
Marked increase in cell permeability ascribed to open connexin (Cx)43 hemichannels is induced by metabolic inhibition (MI) of cortical astrocytes in culture, but the molecular mechanisms are not established. Dephosphorylation and/or oxidation of Cx43 hemichannels was proposed as a potential mechanism to increase their open probability. We now 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)
Nonjunctional membrane in many cells contains connexin gap junction hemichannels (or connexons) that can open to allow permeation of small molecules. Opening of Cx43 hemichannels is infrequent in normal extracellular Ca(2+) and enhanced by low Ca(2+), positive membrane potentials, and dephosphorylation of critical residues. Here we report that lowering(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)
Connexins form hemichannels at undocked plasma membranes and gap-junction channels (GJCs) at intercellular contacting zones. Under physiological conditions, hemichannels have low open probabilities, but their activation under pathological conditions, such as ischemia, induces and/or accelerates cell death. Connexin 46 (Cx46) is a major connexin of the lens,(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)
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)