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Echinobase
ECB-ART-47007
BMC Evol Biol 2019 Feb 26;19Suppl 1:46. doi: 10.1186/s12862-019-1369-4.
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Are there gap junctions without connexins or pannexins?

Slivko-Koltchik GA , Kuznetsov VP , Panchin YV .


Abstract
BACKGROUND: Gap junctions (GJ) are one of the most common forms of intercellular communication. GJs are assembled from proteins that form channels connecting the cytoplasm of adjacent cells. They are considered to be the main or the only type of intercellular channels and the universal feature of all multicellular animals. Two unrelated protein families are currently considered to be involved in this function, namely, connexins and pannexins (pannexins/innexins). Pannexins were hypothesized to be the universal GJ proteins of multicellular animals, distinct from connexins that are characteristic of chordates only. Here we have revised this supposition by applying growing high throughput sequencing data from diverse metazoan species. RESULTS: Pannexins were found in Chordates, Ctenophores, Cnidarians, and in the most major groups of bilateral protostomes. Yet some metazoans appear to have neither connexins nor pannexins in their genomes. We detected no connexins or pannexins/innexins homologues in representatives of all five classes of echinoderms and their closest relatives hemichordates with available genomic sequences. Despite this, our intracellular recordings demonstrate direct electrical coupling between blastomeres at the 2-cell embryo of the echinoderm (starfish Asterias rubens). In these experiments, carboxyfluorescein fluorescent dye did not diffuse between electrically coupled cells. This excludes the possibility that the observed electrical coupling is mediated by incomplete cytoplasm separation during cleavage. CONCLUSION: Functional GJs are present in representatives of the clade that lack currently recognized GJ protein families. New undiscovered protein families utilized for intercellular channels are predicted. It is possible that the new type(s) of intercellular channels are present in parallel to pannexin and connexin gap junctions in animal groups, other than Echinodermata.

PubMed ID: 30813901
PMC ID: PMC6391747
Article link: BMC Evol Biol


Genes referenced: irak1bp1 LOC115919910 stk36


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References [+] :
ASHMAN, INTERCELLULAR ELECTRICAL COUPLING AT A FORMING MEMBRANE JUNCTION IN A DIVIDING CELL. 1964, Pubmed, Echinobase