Gap junction and hemichannel-independent actions of connexins on cell and tissue functions - An update

Jade Z. Zhou, Jean X. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

105 Scopus citations


Connexins, a family of transmembrane proteins, are components of both gap junction channels and hemichannels, which mediate the exchange of ions and small molecules between adjacent cells, and between the inside and outside of the cell, respectively. Substantial advancements have been made in the comprehension of the role of gap junctions and hemichannels in coordinating cellular events. In recent years, a plethora of studies demonstrate a role of connexin proteins in the regulation of tissue homeostasis that occurs independently of their channel activities. This is shown in the context of cell growth, adhesion, migration, apoptosis, and signaling. The major mechanisms of these channel-independent activities still remain to be discovered. In this review, we provide an updated overview on the current knowledge of gap junction- and hemichannel-independent functions of connexins, in particular, their effects on tumorigenesis, neurogenesis and disease development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1192
Number of pages7
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 17 2014



  • Connexin
  • Gap junction
  • Hemichannel
  • Independent function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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