Inhibition of Pyk2 and Src activity improves Cx43 gap junction intercellular communication

Li Zheng, Andrew J. Trease, Kenichi Katsurada, Gaelle Spagnol, Hanjun Li, Wen Shi, Bin Duan, Kaushik P. Patel, Paul L. Sorgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Identification of proteins that interact with Cx43 has been instrumental in the understanding of gap junction (GJ) regulation. An in vitro phosphorylation screen identified that Protein tyrosine kinase 2 beta (Pyk2) phosphorylated purified Cx43CT and this led us to characterize the impact of this phosphorylation on Cx43 function. Mass spectrometry identified Pyk2 phosphorylates Cx43 residues Y247, Y265, Y267, and Y313. Western blot and immunofluorescence staining using HeLaCx43 cells, HEK 293 T cells, and neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) revealed Pyk2 can be activated by Src and active Pyk2 interacts with Cx43 at the plasma membrane. Overexpression of Pyk2 increases Cx43 phosphorylation and knock-down of Pyk2 decreases Cx43 phosphorylation, without affecting the level of active Src. In HeLaCx43 cells treated with PMA to activate Pyk2, a decrease in Cx43 GJ intercellular communication (GJIC) was observed when assayed by dye transfer. Moreover, PMA activation of Pyk2 could be inhibited by the small molecule PF4618433. This partially restored GJIC, and when paired with a Src inhibitor, returned GJIC to the no PMA control-level. The ability of Pyk2 and Src inhibitors to restore Cx43 function in the presence of PMA was also observed in NRVMs. Additionally, an animal model of myocardial infarction induced heart failure showed a higher level of active Pyk2 activity and increased interaction with Cx43 in ventricular myocytes. Src inhibitors have been used to reverse Cx43 remodeling and improve heart function after myocardial infarction; however, they alone could not fully restore proper Cx43 function. Our data suggest that Pyk2 may need to be inhibited, in addition to Src, to further (if not completely) reverse Cx43 remodeling and improve intercellular communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • And gap junction
  • Cx43
  • Phosphorylation
  • Pyk2
  • Src

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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