Connexin 43 (Cx43), the most widely expressed gap junction protein, has a role in regulation of cell growth. In this study, we demonstrate that the point mutations F199L, R202E, and E205R in the second extracellular region of Cx43 prevent localization of the mutant proteins to the plasma membrane. The mutants were aberrantly localized in the cytoplasm if expressed in HeLa cells, which lack Cx43. Coexpression with wild-type Cx43 promoted localization of the F199L and R202E mutant proteins to the plasma membrane. By dye transfer assay, we showed that gap junctional intercellular communication (GJC) is decreased in cells expressing the mutants, compared to Cx43 wild-type-expressing cells. However, the F199L mutant does not appear to have a dominant-negative effect on GJC. Despite the loss of GJC, the ability of the F199L Cx43 mutant to inhibit growth of either Cx43-/- cells or two cancer cell lines, HeLa and C6 glioma cells, was similar to that of the wild-type Cx43. In addition, we showed that both R202E and E205R Cx43 mutant expressions cause growth retardation of HeLa cells. Therefore, the point mutations in the second extracellular region of Cx43 do not affect the ability of the mutant proteins in vitro to suppress cell growth, although they prevent localization to the plasma membrane. The results support the concept that regulation of cell growth by Cx43 does not necessarily require GJC and suggest that the growth-suppressive properties of Cx43 may be independent of the second extracellular loop.