A number of phosphatase inhibitors (okadaic acid, calyculin A, aluminium fluoride, sodium molybdate, sodium orthovanadate, pervanadate and vanadyl sulphate) were investigated for their effects on gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) and [125I]-epidermal growth factor (EGF) binding in early passage Syrian hamster embryo cells (mainly fibroblast-like cells) and in V79 Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts. Only pervanadate decreased GJIC significantly. After the initial pervanadate-induced decrease the GJIC recovered rapidly. Only pervanadate was able to change the band pattern of the gap junction protein connexin43 (cx43) in Western blots. Together this may indicate either that there is a low turnover of phosphate groups in cx43 under basal conditions or that the putative phosphatases are not sensitive to most of the phosphatase inhibitors applied. In contrast, pervanadate, orthovanadate and molybdate decreased [125I]-EGF binding. 12-O-Tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) is able to induce the phosphorylation of both cx43 and the EGF receptor, concomitantly with a decrease in GJIC and [125I]-EGF binding. These effects are reversible after removal of TPA. It could be imagined that other phosphatases would act on cx43 and the EGF receptor after the forced phosphorylation of the two molecules. Thus TPA was used to downregulate GJIC and [125I]-EGF binding and phosphatase inhibitors were applied in the upregulation phase. Only pervanadate affected the upregulation of GJIC, and pervanadate, orthovanadate and molybdate affected the upregulation of [125I]-EGF binding. Thus it is not an identical complement of phosphatases that act on cx43 and the EGF receptor. All the downregulating agents are assumed to be phosphotyrosine phosphatase inhibitors.
- gap junctions
- phosphatase inhibitors