Connexin gap junctions and hemichannels in modulating lens redox homeostasis and oxidative stress in cataractogenesis

Yumeng Quan, Yu Du, Yuxin Tong, Sumin Gu, Jean X. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The lens is continuously exposed to oxidative stress insults, such as ultraviolet radiation and other oxidative factors, during the aging process. The lens possesses powerful oxidative stress defense systems to maintain its redox homeostasis, one of which employs connexin channels. Connexins are a family of proteins that form: (1) Hemichannels that mediate the communication between the intracellular and extracellular environments, and (2) gap junction channels that mediate cell-cell communication between adjacent cells. The avascular lens transports nutrition and metabolites through an extensive network of connexin channels, which allows the passage of small molecules, including antioxidants and oxidized wastes. Oxidative stress-induced post-translational modifications of connexins, in turn, regulates gap junction and hemichannel permeability. Recent evidence suggests that dysfunction of connexins gap junction channels and hemichannels may induce cataract formation through impaired redox homeostasis. Here, we review the recent advances in the knowledge of connexin channels in lens redox homeostasis and their response to cataract-related oxidative stress by discussing two major aspects: (1) The role of lens connexins and channels in oxidative stress and cataractogenesis, and (2) the impact and underlying mechanism of oxidative stress in regulating connexin channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1374
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Cataractogenesis
  • Connexin
  • Gap junction
  • Hemichannel
  • Lens
  • Oxidative stress
  • Redox homeostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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