Reactome: A Curated Pathway Database

Gap junction trafficking and regulation (R-HSA-157858)

Species Homo sapiens


Gap junctions are clusters of intercellular channels connecting adjacent cells and permitting the direct exchange of ions and small molecules between cells. These channels are composed of two hemichannels, or connexons, one located on each of the two neighboring cells. Each connexon is composed of 6 trans-membrane protein subunits of the connexin (Cx) family. A gap of approximately 3 nm remains between the adjacent cell membranes, but two connexons interact and dock head-to-head in the extra-cellular space forming a tightly sealed, double-membrane intercellular channel (see Segretain and Falk, 2004). The activity of these intercellular channels is regulated, particularly by intramolecular modifications such as phosphorylation which appears to regulate connexin turnover, gap junction assembly and the opening and closure (gating) of gap junction channels.

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Literature References
pubMedId Title Journal Year
15033576 Regulation of connexin biosynthesis, assembly, gap junction formation, and removal Biochim Biophys Acta 2004
11737941 Learning the language of cell-cell communication through connexin channels Genome Biol 2001
9861669 Diverse functions of vertebrate gap junctions Trends Cell Biol 1998
11146276 Human diseases: clues to cracking the connexin code? Trends Cell Biol 2001