12-O-Tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) caused strong suppression of gap junctional intercellular communication, altered phosphorylation status of the gap junction protein, connexin43, and disappearance of immunorecognizible connexin43-containing gap junction plaques in V79 fibroblasts. When TPA was removed, all parameters normalized during a 3- to 4-h period. The normalizations were independent of protein synthesis, suggesting the possible involvement of phosphatases. None of the phosphatase inhibitors okadaic acid, calyculin A, cyclosporin A, or FK506 affected intercellular communication or connexin43 phosphorylation status on their own. In sequential exposures to TPA and phosphatase inhibitors, only the protein-phosphatase 2B (PP2B) inhibitors cyclosporin A and FK506 delayed the recovery of the studied parameters. Rapamycin binds to the same set of proteins as does FK506, but without inhibiting PP2B. Rapamycin did not affect the recovery of intercellular communication, but it delayed the normalization of connexin43 band pattern and immunorecognition of gap junction plaques. Dephosphorylation of immunoprecipitated connexin43 was studied using PP1, 2A, 2B, and 2C. PP2A was the most efficient (by 100-fold on a molar basis). Connexin43 immunoprecipitated from TPA-exposed cells was a poor substrate for PP1, 2B, and 2C. Thus, PP2B appeared to play a role in normalization of intercellular communication, but not necessarily in direct dephosphorylation of connexin43. Peptidyl-prolyl isomerase activity of cyclosporin/FK506/rapamycin-binding proteins may promote the dephosphorylation of connexin43 in cells.
- gap junctional intercellular communication
- phorbol ester
- protein phosphatases
- phosphatase inhibitors