Gap junctions

Definition

Gap junctions are intercellular channels that allow small molecules and electrical current to passively diffuse between adjacent cells. They are found in neurons and glia throughout the nervous system and are the main structural element of electrical synapses.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Gap junctions have critical roles in maintaining homeostasis in multicellular organisms. Here the authors present cryo-EM structures of the C. elegans innexin-6 gap junction channel, revealing high structural similarity to human connexin 26 despite a different oligomeric number and lack of sequence similarity.

    • Atsunori Oshima
    • , Kazutoshi Tani
    •  & Yoshinori Fujiyoshi
  • Reviews |

    In this Timeline article, Aasen et al. look back over 50 years of research linking gap junctions and connexins to cancer, highlighting the conditional nature of their role in cancer progression, future challenges and therapeutic strategies.

    • Trond Aasen
    • , Marc Mesnil
    • , Christian C. Naus
    • , Paul D. Lampe
    •  & Dale W. Laird
    Nature Reviews Cancer 16, 775–788
  • Research | | open

    LRP6 is known for its role as a Wnt co-receptor essential for the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Here, Li et al. show that LRP6 exerts a Wnt-independent scaffold function and regulates connexin 43 gap junction formation and coupling of cardiomyocytes in mouse hearts.

    • Jun Li
    • , Changming Li
    • , Dandan Liang
    • , Fei Lv
    • , Tianyou Yuan
    • , Erlinda The
    • , Xiue Ma
    • , Yahan Wu
    • , Lixiao Zhen
    • , Duanyang Xie
    • , Shiyi Wang
    • , Yuan Liu
    • , Jian Huang
    • , Jingyi Shi
    • , Yi Liu
    • , Dan Shi
    • , Liang Xu
    • , Li Lin
    • , Luying Peng
    • , Jianmin Cui
    • , Weidong Zhu
    •  & Yi-Han Chen
  • Research |

    WebMotor neurons in zebrafish are shown to be more than simply output neurons, since they are able to influence, through gap junctions, the strength of the input they receive from V2a interneurons and, thereby, the frequency and duration of locomotor activity.

    • Jianren Song
    • , Konstantinos Ampatzis
    • , E. Rebecka Björnfors
    •  & Abdeljabbar El Manira
    Nature 529, 399–402
  • Research |

    In vertebrate vision, the two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones, operate under low and bright light intensities, respectively. Here the authors show that under bright light conditions, when rods are not sensing light, they act as relay cells for cone-driven surround inhibition.

    • Tamas Szikra
    • , Stuart Trenholm
    • , Antonia Drinnenberg
    • , Josephine Jüttner
    • , Zoltan Raics
    • , Karl Farrow
    • , Martin Biel
    • , Gautam Awatramani
    • , Damon A Clark
    • , José-Alain Sahel
    • , Rava Azeredo da Silveira
    •  & Botond Roska
    Nature Neuroscience 17, 1728–1735
  • Research |

    Fine-scale synchrony of neural activity determines the nature of neural coding, but its underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here the authors find that coincident electrical and chemical synaptic inputs are nonlinearly integrated in overlapping retinal ganglion cell dendrites to produce synchronous spiking.

    • Stuart Trenholm
    • , Amanda J McLaughlin
    • , David J Schwab
    • , Maxwell H Turner
    • , Robert G Smith
    • , Fred Rieke
    •  & Gautam B Awatramani
    Nature Neuroscience 17, 1759–1766

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