Connexin mimetic peptides reversibly inhibit Ca2+ signaling through gap junctions in airway cells

Scott Boitano, W. Howard Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


The effect of peptides with sequences derived from connexins, the constituent proteins of gap junctions, on mechanically stimulated intercellular Ca2+ signaling in tracheal airway epithelial cells was studied. Three peptides with sequences corresponding to connexin extracellular loop regions reversibly restricted propagation of Ca2+ waves to neighboring cells. Recovery of communication began within 10 min of removal of the peptides, with inhibition totally reversed by 20-40 min. The peptides were shown to be more effective in inhibiting Ca2+ waves than glycyrrhetinic acid or oleamide. Inhibition of intercellular Ca2+ waves by connexin mimetic peptides did not affect the Ca2+ response to extracellular ATP. Although the intracellular Ca2+ response of tracheal epithelial cells to ATP was greatly reduced by either pretreatment with high doses of ATP or application of apyrase, mechanically stimulated intercellular Ca2+ signaling was not affected by these agents. We conclude that connexin mimetic peptides are effective and reversible inhibitors of gap junctional communication of physiologically significant molecules that underlie Ca2+ wave propagation in tracheal epithelial cells and propose a potential mechanism for the mode of action of mimetic peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L623-L630
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4 23-4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Calcium
  • Cell communication
  • Connexon
  • Gap junction inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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