Connexin expression in epidermal cell lines from SENCAR mouse skin tumors

Irina V. Budunova*, Steve Carbajal, Aurora Viaje, Thomas J. Slaga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Alteration of gap-junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) has long been proposed to be involved in carcinogenesis. Previously, we reported that the level of gap junctional intercellular communication in mouse skin carcinoma cell lines is significantly lower than in papilloma cell lines and normal mouse keratinocytes (Klann et al., Cancer Res 49:699-705, 1989). Here, we present data on expression of the gap-junctional protein connexins (Cx) 26, Cx31.1, and Cx43 in a comprehensive panel of keratinocyte cell lines representing different stages of mouse skin carcinogenesis and the effect of different conditions of propagation on Cx phenotype. Northern and western blot analyses and immuno-staining showed that all cell lines studied in vitro expressed Cx43 but most did not express Cx31.1 or Cx26. The abundance of Cx43 expression on plasma membranes correlated well with the level of GJIC. In vivo expression of Cx43 and Cx26 was strongly increased. Whereas none of tumorigenic cell lines expressed Cx26 gap junctions in culture, those growing as tumors in nude mice began to express Cx26 protein. The comparison of Cx expression on the keratinocyte membranes in three different groups of tumors (papillomas and squamous cell and spindle cell carcinomas) clearly revealed that the abundance of Cx43 and Cx26 expression directly correlated with the level of tumor differentiation. All studied tumors were Cx31.1 negative. These results suggest that both Cx expression and gap-junction permeability are gradually reduced during the tumor progression stage of mouse skin carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-201
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1996


  • Connexins
  • gap junction
  • Keratinocytes
  • Skin tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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