Hunting for connexin hemichannels

Sáez JC, Leybaert L.


Connexin hemichannels (connexons) are building blocks of gap junctions but also function as free unapposed channels, which has become an active field of research. Defining functions of hemichannels and their involvement in any biological event requires ruling out possible participation of other channels that share biophysical and regulatory properties, for example pannexins, CALHM1 and P2X receptors. The lack of specific inhibitors for these channels has become an obstacle in elucidating the role of connexin hemichannels. Several experimental approaches are now available to identify hemichannels at the cell surface and to characterize their electrophysiological, permeability and regulatory properties. The use of connexin knockout/knockdown, and the development of peptides that target intracellular connexin domains and specific antibodies directed to extracellular domains have helped to dissect the role of hemichannels in endogenously expressing systems. Moreover, studies of connexin mutants in exogenous expression systems have provided convincing evidence on hemichannels in the pathogenesis of several human genetic diseases. We here present a brief overview of connexin hemichannels as functional channels and itemize a list of aspects to consider when concluding on their involvement. (c) 2014 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Título según WOS: Hunting for connexin hemichannels
Título según SCOPUS: Hunting for connexin hemichannels
Título de la Revista: FEBS LETTERS
Volumen: 588
Número: 8
Fecha de publicación: 2014
Página de inicio: 1205
Página final: 1211
Idioma: English


Notas: ISI, SCOPUS - Scopus