The connexin gene family in mammals

V. Cruciani, S.-O. Mikalsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Unannotated mammalian genome databases (dog, cow, opossum) were searched for candidate connexin genes, using sequences from annotated genomes (man, mouse). All 18 ‘multi-species’connexin genes, i.e., orthologs of connexin26, 29/31.3 (duplicated in opossum), 30, 30.2/31.9, 30.3, 31, 31.1, 32, 36, 37, 39/40.1, 40, 43, 45, 44/46, 47, 50, and 57/62, were found in dog, cow and opossum. Connexin25 and 58 have been considered specific for man, but evident orthologs of connexin25 were found in dog, cow and opossum, and orthologs of connexin58 were found in dog and cow. Moreover, a connexin43-like sequence (approx. 80% identical to connexin43) was found in man, chimpanzee, dog and cow. In the three former species, the sequences were located on the X chromosome. In man, chimpanzee and cow, there were stop codons in all reading frames; these sequences are therefore judged as pseudogenes, called here Cx43pX. In the dog, the sequence contained an open reading frame for a protein of 35.7 kDa (connexin35.7). We suggest that these sequences are orthologs of connexin33, previously considered as a rodent-specific connexin gene. Thus, connexin25, 33 and 58 are not species-specific genes. However, the opossum may possess a candidate, connexin39.2, without obvious orthologs in other mammals. Furthermore, pseudogenes of primate connexin31.3 and opossum connexin35 (one of the two orthologs of primate connexin31.3) were detected. These results suggest that the structure of the mammalian connexin gene family should be revised, especially with regard to the so-called ‘species-specific’connexins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Chemistry
Volume386
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • connexin
  • gap junctions
  • genome databases
  • pseudogenes
  • species-specific genes

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