Polydisperse molecular architecture of connexin 26/30 heteromeric hemichannels revealed by atomic force microscopy imaging

Naulin, Pamela A.; Lozano, Benjamin; Fuentes, Christian; Liu, Yu; Schmidt, Carla; Contreras, Jorge E.; Barrera, Nelson P.

Abstract

Connexin (Cx) protein forms hemichannels and gap junctional channels, which play diverse and profound roles in human physiology and diseases. Gap junctions are arrays of intercellular channels formed by the docking of two hemichannels from adjacent cells. Each hexameric hemichannel contains the same or different Cx isoform. Although homomeric Cxs forms have been largely described functionally and structurally, the stoichiometry and arrangement of heteromeric Cx channels remain unknown. The latter, however, are widely expressed in human tissues and variation might have important implications on channel function. Investigating properties of heteromeric Cx channels is challenging considering the high number of potential subunit arrangements and stoichiometries, even when only combining two Cx isoforms. To tackle this problem, we engineered an HA tag onto Cx26 or Cx30 subunits and imaged hemichannels that were liganded by Fab-epitope antibody fragments via atomic force microscopy. For Cx26-HA/Cx30 or Cx30-HA/Cx26 heteromeric channels, the Fab-HA binding distribution was binomial with a maximum of three Fab-HA bound. Furthermore, imaged Cx26/Cx30-HA triple liganded by Fab-HA showed multiple arrangements that can be derived from the law of total probabilities. Atomic force microscopy imaging of ringlike structures of Cx26/Cx30-HA hemichannels confirmed these findings and also detected a polydisperse distribution of stoichiometries. Our results indicate a dominant subunit stoichiometry of 3Cx26:3Cx30 with the most abundant subunit arrangement of Cx26-Cx26-Cx30-Cx26-Cx30-Cx30. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the molecular architecture of heteromeric Cx channels has been revealed, thus providing the basis to explore the functional effect of these channels in biology.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000598518600004 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY
Volumen: 295
Número: 49
Editorial: AMER SOC BIOCHEMISTRY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY INC
Fecha de publicación: 2020
Página de inicio: 16499
Página final: 16509
DOI:

10.1074/jbc.RA119.012128

Notas: ISI