Article

Evaluating the role of connexin43 in congenital heart disease: Screening for mutations in patients with outflow tract anomalies and the analysis of knock-in mouse models

Children's Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
Journal of cardiovascular disease research 10/2011; 2(4):206-12. DOI: 10.4103/0975-3583.89804
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT GJA1 gene encodes a gap junction protein known as connexin 43 (Cx43). Cx43 is abundantly expressed in the ventricular myocardium and in cardiac neural crest cells. Cx43 is proposed to play an important role in human congenital heart disease, as GJA1 knock-out mice die neonatally from outflow tract obstruction. In addition, patients with visceroatrial heterotaxia or hypoplastic left heart syndrome were reported to have point mutations in GJA1 at residues that affect protein kinase phosphorylation and gating of the gap junction channel. However, as these clinical findings were not replicated in subsequent studies, the question remains about the contribution of GJA1 mutations in human congenital heart disease (CHD).
We analyzed the GJA1 coding sequence in 300 patients with CHD from two clinical centers, focusing on outflow tract anomalies. This included 152 with Tetralogy of Fallot from over 200 patients exhibiting outflow tract anomalies, as well as other structural heart defects including atrioventricular septal defects and other valvar anomalies. Our sequencing analysis revealed only two silent nucleotide substitutions in 8 patients. To further assess the possible role of Cx43 in CHD, we also generated two knock-in mouse models with point mutations at serine residues subject to protein kinase C or casein kinase phosphorylation, sites that are known to regulate gating and trafficking of Cx43, respectively.
Both heterozygous and homozygous knock-in mice were long term viable and did not exhibit overt CHD.
The combined clinical and knock-in mouse mutant studies indicate GJA1 mutation is not likely a major contributor to CHD, especially those involving outflow tract anomalies.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Bishwanath Chatterjee, Mar 06, 2014
1 Follower
 · 
187 Views
  • Source
    • "and which were designed to distinguish between GJA1 and its pseudogene (Huang et al., 2011). Amplified products were sequenced, using both the forward and reverse primers, on an ABI 3130XL Genetic Analyser (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Deafness is the most common sensory disability in the world and has a variety of causes. Globally, mutations in GJB2 have been shown to play a major role in nonsyndromic deafness, but this has not been seen in Africans. Two other connexin genes, GJB6 and GJA1, have been implicated in hearing loss but have seldom been investigated in African populations. We set out to investigate the role of genetic variation in GJB6 and GJA1 in a group of Cameroonian and South African Blacks with nonsyndromic recessive hearing loss. A subset of 100 patients, affected with nonsyndromic hearing loss, from a cohort that was previously shown not to have GJB2 mutation, was analyzed by Sanger sequencing of the entire coding regions of GJB6 and GJA1. In addition, the large-scale GJB6-D3S1830 deletion was also investigated. No pathogenic mutation was detected in either GJB6 or GJA1, nor was the GJB6-D3S1830 deletion detected. There were no statistically significant differences in sequence variants between patients and controls. Mutations in GJB6 and GJA1 are not a major cause of nonsyndromic deafness in this group of Africans from Cameroon and South Africa. Currently, there is no sufficient evidence to support their testing in a clinical setting for individuals of African ancestry.
    Omics: a journal of integrative biology 05/2014; 18(7). DOI:10.1089/omi.2013.0166 · 2.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Connexin43 (Cx43) has roles in cell-cell communication as well as channel independent roles in regulating motility and migration. Loss of function approaches to decrease Cx43 protein levels in neural cells result in reduced migration of neurons during cortical development in mice and impaired glioma tumor cell migration. In other cell types, correlations between Cx43 expression and cell morphology, adhesion, motility and migration have been noted. In this review we will discuss the common themes that have been revealed by a detailed comparison of the published results of neuronal cells with that of other cell types. In brief, these comparisons clearly show differences in the stability and directionality of protrusions, polarity of movement, and migration, depending on whether a) residual Cx43 levels remain after siRNA or shRNA knockdown, b) Cx43 protein levels are not detectable as in cells from Cx43(-/-) knockout mice or in cells that normally have no endogenous Cx43 expression, c) gain-of-function approaches are used to express Cx43 in cells that have no endogenous Cx43 and, d) Cx43 is over-expressed in cells that already have low endogenous Cx43 protein levels. What is clear from our comparisons is that Cx43 expression influences the adhesiveness of cells and the directionality of cellular processes. These observations are discussed in light of the ability of cells to rearrange their cytoskeleton and move in an organized manner. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: The Communicating junctions, roles and dysfunctions (Pt II).
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 05/2012; 1828(1). DOI:10.1016/j.bbamem.2012.05.014 · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The mouse semi-dominant Nm2249 mutation displays variable cataracts in heterozygous mice and smaller lenses with severe cataracts in homozygous mice. This mutation is caused by a Gja8(R205G) point mutation in the second extracellular loop of the Cx50 (or α8 connexin) protein. Immunohistological data reveal that Cx50-R205G mutant proteins and endogenous wild-type Cx46 (or α3 connexin) proteins form diffuse tiny spots rather than typical punctate signals of normal gap junctions in the lens. The level of phosphorylated Cx46 proteins is decreased in Gja8(R205G/R205G) mutant lenses. Genetic analysis reveals that the Cx50-R205G mutation needs the presence of wild-type Cx46 to disrupt lens peripheral fibers and epithelial cells. Electrophysiological data in Xenopus oocytes reveal that Cx50-R205G mutant proteins block channel function of gap junctions composed of wild-type Cx50, but only affect the gating of wild-type Cx46 channels. Both genetic and electrophysiological results suggest that Cx50-R205G mutant proteins alone are unable to form functional channels. These findings imply that the Gja8(R205G) mutation differentially impairs the functions of Cx50 and Cx46 to cause cataracts, small lenses and microphthalmia. The Gja8(R205G) mutation occurs at the same conserved residue as the human GJA8(R198W) mutation. This work provides molecular insights to understand the cataract and microphthalmia/microcornea phenotype caused by Gja8 mutations in mice and humans.
    PLoS ONE 12/2012; 7(12):e52894. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0052894 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Show more