There is abundant evidence showing that connexins form gap junctions. Yet this does not exclude the possibility that connexins can exert other functions, separate from that of gap junction (or even a permeable hemichannel) formation. Here, we focus on these noncanonical functions of connexin43 (Cx43), particularly in the heart. We describe two specific examples: the importance of Cx43 on intercellular adhesion, and the role of Cx43 in the function of the sodium channel. We propose that these two functions of Cx43 have important repercussions on the propagation of electrical activity in the heart, irrespective of the presence of permeable gap junction channels. Overall, the gap junction–independent functions of Cx43 in cardiac electrophysiology emerge as an exciting area of future research.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 24, 2012
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