Gap junctions and cell polarity: connexin32 and connexin43 expressed in polarized thyroid epithelial cells assemble into separate gap junctions, which are located in distinct regions of the lateral plasma membrane domain

A Guerrier, P Fonlupt, I Morand, R Rabilloud, C Audebet, V Krutovskikh, D Gros, B Rousset, Y Munari-Silem
1995 Journal of Cell Science  
Epithelial cells of the thyroid gland present an uncommon connexin expression pattern, they coexpress connexin32 and connexin43. In the present work, we have analyzed the membrane distribution of these two connexins to determine: (i) whether they co-assemble in the same gap junctions or form separate gap junctions; and (ii) whether their location is somehow related to the thyroid cell polarity. Immunofluorescence analyses of the localization of the two connexins in thyroid tissue sections
more » ... ssue sections revealed that connexin32 and connexin43 are located in different regions of the plasma membrane. We further analyzed the location of each of the two connexins with regard to that of the tight junction-associated protein, ZO1. Laser scanning confocal microscope observations of connexin32 or connexin43 and ZO1 double-immunolabelled thyroid cells, gave evidence for a separate localization of gap junctions made of each of these two connexins. Connexin32 gap junctions appeared as fluorescent spots scattered over the lateral membrane domain, while connexin43 gap junctions formed a meshed network superimposable with that of tight junctions in the subapical region of the cells. Western blot analyses of the distribution of connexins in thyroid plasma membrane subfractions obtained by ultracentrifugation on a sucrose gradient led to the identification of membrane sub-populations enriched in either connexin32 gap junctions or connexin43 gap junctions. Connexin32 gap junctions and connexin43 gap junctions were found to differ in their resistance to solubilization by N-lauroylsarcosine. Increasing concentrations of this detergent from 0.12% to 0.42% caused a progressive solubilization of connexin43 while connexin32 remained membrane-bound.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
pmid:7593302 fatcat:lhu37qa5yfdtjmpm2ncrlzfigu