Phosphorylation on Ser-279 and Ser-282 of connexin43 regulates endocytosis and gap junction assembly in pancreatic cancer cells

Kristen E. Johnson, Shalini Mitra, Parul Katoch, Linda S. Kelsey, Keith R. Johnson, Parmender P Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

The molecular mechanisms regulating the assembly of connexins (Cxs) into gap junctions are poorly understood. Using human pancreatic tumor cell lines BxPC3 and Capan-1, which express Cx26 and Cx43, we show that, upon arrival at the cell surface, the assembly of Cx43 is impaired. Connexin43 fails to assemble, because it is internalized by clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Assembly is restored upon expressing a sorting-motif mutant of Cx43, which does not interact with the AP2 complex, and by expressing mutants that cannot be phosphorylated on Ser-279 and Ser-282. The mutants restore assembly by preventing clathrin-mediated endocytosis of Cx43. Our results also document that the sorting-motif mutant is assembled into gap junctions in cells in which the expression of endogenous Cx43 has been knocked down. Remarkably, Cx43 mutants that cannot be phosphorylated on Ser-279 or Ser-282 are assembled into gap junctions only when connexons are composed of Cx43 forms that can be phosphorylated on these serines and forms in which phosphorylation on these serines is abolished. Based on the subcellular fate of Cx43 in single and contacting cells, our results document that the endocytic itinerary of Cx43 is altered upon cell-cell contact, which causes Cx43 to traffic by EEA1-negative endosomes en route to lysosomes. Our results further show that gap-junctional plaques formed of a sorting motif-deficient mutant of Cx43, which is unable to be internalized by the clathrin-mediated pathway, are predominantly endocytosed in the form of annular junctions. Thus the differential phospho-rylation of Cx43 on Ser-279 and Ser-282 is fine-tuned to control Cx43's endocytosis and assembly into gap junctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-733
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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