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Title

A new conditional mouse mutant reveals specific expression and functions of connexin36 in neurons and pancreatic beta-cells

Authors
Wellershaus, Kerstin
Degen, Joachim
Deuchars, Jim
Theis, Martin
Caille, Dorothée
Janssen-Bienhold, Ulrike
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Published in Experimental Cell Research. 2008, vol. 314, no. 5, p. 997-1012
Abstract Connexin36 (Cx36) is the main connexin isoform expressed in neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) and in pancreatic beta-cells, i.e. two types of excitable cells that share - in spite of their different origins - a number of common features. Previous studies on Cx36 deficient mice have documented that loss of Cx36 resulted in phenotypic abnormalities in both the CNS and the pancreas which, however, could not be attributed to specific cell types due to the general deletion nature of the animal model used. Attempts to address this limitation using cell type specific deletions generated by the Cre/loxP strategy have so far been complicated by the lack of Cx36 expression from the floxed allele. We have now generated a conditional Cx36 deficient mouse mutant in which the coding region of Cx36 is flanked by loxP sites, followed by a cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) reporter gene. Here we show that Cx36 was still expressed from the floxed allele in neurons and pancreatic beta-cells. In these cells, a 30-60% decrease of this protein, relative to the expression level of the wildtype allele, did not significantly perturb cell coupling. The deletion of Cx36 by ubiquitously and cell type specifically expressed Cre recombinases revealed that CFP functions as a reliable reporter for Cx36 expression in brain neurons and to some extent in retina neurons, but not in pancreas. Loss of Cx36 by Cre-mediated recombination was documented at transcript and protein levels. Cell type specific deletion of Cx36 in the endocrine pancreas revealed major alterations in the basal as well as the glucose-induced insulin secretion, hence specifically attributing to pancreatic Cx36 an important regulatory role in the control of beta-cell function. Cell type specific deletion of Cx36 in the CNS by suitable Cre recombinases should also help to elucidate the functional role of Cx36 in different neuronal subtypes.
Keywords AnimalsBrain/cytologyConnexins/deficiency/genetics/physiologyGene Expression RegulationInsulin/secretionInsulin-Secreting Cells/chemistry/secretionIntegrasesMiceNeurons/chemistryRetina/cytologyTissue Distribution
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PMID: 18258229
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Structures
Research groups Couplage cellulaire et connexines (136)
Types cellulaires pancréatiques pendant l'ontogénèse (522)
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WELLERSHAUS, Kerstin et al. A new conditional mouse mutant reveals specific expression and functions of connexin36 in neurons and pancreatic beta-cells. In: Experimental Cell Research, 2008, vol. 314, n° 5, p. 997-1012. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:1916

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Deposited on : 2009-06-09

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