Site-directed mutagenesis reveals putative regions of protein interaction within the transmembrane domains of connexins

M. M. Toloue, Y. Woolwine, J. A. Karcz, E. M. Kasperek, B. J. Nicholson, I. M. Skerrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Through cysteine-scanning mutagenesis, the authors have compared sites within the transmembrane domains of two connexins, one from the α-class (Cx50) and one from the β-class (Cx32), where amino acid substitution disrupts the function of gap junction channels. In Cx32, 11 sites resulted in no channel function, or an aberrant voltage gating phenotype referred to as "reverse gating," whereas in Cx50, 7 such sites were identified. In both connexins, the sites lie along specific faces of transmembrane helices, suggesting that these may be sites of transmembrane domain interactions. In Cx32, one broad face of the M1 transmembrane domain and a narrower, polar face of M3 were identified, including one site that was shown to come into close apposition with M4 in the closed state. In Cx50, the same face of M3 was identified, but sensitive sites in M1 differed from Cx32. Many fewer sites in M1 disrupted channel function in Cx50, and those that did were on a different helical face to the sensitive sites in Cx32. A more in depth study of two sites in M1 and M2 of Cx32 showed that side-chain length or branching are important for maintenance of normal channel behavior, consistent with this being a site of transmembrane domain interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalCell Communication and Adhesion
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Connexin
  • Gap junction
  • Gating
  • Mutagenisis
  • Transmembrane domain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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