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Endothelial connexin 37, connexin 40, and connexin 43 respond uniquely to substrate and shear stress.

Authors
  • Johnson, Tiffany L
  • Nerem, Robert M
Type
Published Article
Journal
Endothelium : journal of endothelial cell research
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2007
Volume
14
Issue
4-5
Pages
215–226
Identifiers
PMID: 17922338
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Endothelial connexins have been linked to atherosclerosis and hypertension; however, little is know about their sensitivity to stimuli and individual functions. This study investigates the responses of endothelial connexin 37, connexin 40, and connexin 43 (Cx37, Cx40, and Cx43) to shear stress and substrate. Human endothelial cells were seeded on adsorbed collagen or a collagen gel containing smooth muscle cells and exposed to static or laminar shear stress. Connexin mRNA, protein, and gap junction communication were examined. Endothelial monolayers were treated with connexin-specific short interfering RNA (siRNA) and evaluated for communication, proliferation, and morphology under static and shear stress. Results show differential responses of Cx37, Cx40, and Cx43 to substrate and shear stress with reduced communication after shear exposure. RNA interference of individual connexins resulted in expression change of nontarget connexins, which suggests linked expression. Gap junction communication under static conditions is reduced following Cx43 siRNA treatment. Endothelial cells are more elongated with RNA interference (RNAi) targeting Cx40. In conclusion, endothelial connexins demonstrated novel sensitivity to mechanical environment and substrate. Individual isotypes show differential responses and RNAi knockdown provides new insight into connexin function and potential roles in the vasculature.

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