Intercellular redistribution of cAMP underlies selective suppression of cancer cell growth by connexin26

Anjana Chandrasekhar, Edward A. Kalmykov, Srikanth R. Polusani, Sandra A. Mathis, Shoshanna N. Zucker, Bruce J. Nicholson

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25 Scopus citations


Connexins (Cx), which constitute gap junction intercellular channels in vertebrates, have been shown to suppress transformed cell growth and tumorigenesis, but the mechanism(s) still remain largely speculative. Here, we define the molecular basis by which Cx26, but less frequently Cx43 or Cx32, selectively confer growth suppression on cancer cells. Functional intercellular coupling is shown to be required, producing partial blocks of the cell cycle due to prolonged activation of several mitogenic kinases. PKA is both necessary and sufficient for the Cx26 induced growth inhibition in low serum and the absence of anchorage. Activation of PKA was not associated with elevated cAMP levels, but appeared to result from a redistribution of cAMP throughout the cell population, eliminating the cell cycle oscillations in cAMP required for efficient cell cycle progression. Cx43 and Cx32 fail to mediate this redistribution as, unlike Cx26, these channels are closed during the G2/M phase of the cell cycle when cAMP levels peak. Comparisons of tumor cell lines indicate that this is a general pattern, with growth suppression by connexins occurring whenever cAMP oscillates with the cell cycle, and the gap junction remain open throughout the cell cycle. Thus, gap junctional coupling, in the absence of any external signals, provides a general means to limit the mitotic rate of cell populations. Copyright:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere82335
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 3 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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