Heterotypic gap junction channel formation between heteromeric and homomeric Cx40 and Cx43 connexons

G. T. Cottrell, J. M. Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Recent evidence indicating formation of functional homomeric/heterotypic gap junction channels by connexin40 (Cx40) and connexin43 (Cx43) raises the question of whether data previously interpreted as support for heteromeric channel formation by these connexins might not instead reflect the activity of homomeric/heterotypic channels. To address this question and to further characterize the behavior of these channels, we used dual whole cell voltage-clamp techniques to examine the junctions formed between cells that express only Cx40 (Rin40) or Cx43 (Rin43) and compared the results with those obtained when either of these cell types was paired with cells that naturally express both connexins (A7r5 cells). Rin40/Rin43 cell pairs formed functional gap junctions that displayed a strongly asymmetric voltage-dependent gating response. Single-channel event amplitudes ranged between 34 and 150 pS, with 90- to 130-pS events predominating. A7r5/Rin43 and A7r5/Rin40 cell pairs had voltage-dependent gating responses that varied greatly, with most pairs demonstrating strong asymmetry. These cell pairs exhibited a variety of single-channel events that were not consistent with homomeric/homotypic Cx40 or Cx43 channels or homomeric/heterotypic Cx40/Cx43 channels. These data indicate that Cx40 and Cx43 form homomeric/heterotypic as well as heteromeric/heterotypic channels that display unique gating and conductance properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1559-C1567
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5 50-5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Connexins
  • Electrophysiology
  • Intercellular communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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