Neuronal connexin36 association with zonula occludens-1 protein (ZO-1) in mouse brain and interaction with the first PDZ domain of ZO-1

Xinbo Li, Carl Olson, Shijun Lu, Naomi Kamasawa, Thomas Yasumura, John E. Rash, James I. Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations

Abstract

Among the 20 members in the connexin family of gap junction proteins, only connexin36 (Cx36) is firmly established to be expressed in neurons and to form electrical synapses at widely distributed interneuronal gap junctions in mammalian brain. Several connexins have recently been reported to interact with the PDZ domain-containing protein zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), which was originally considered to be associated only with tight junctions, but has recently been reported to associate with other structures including gap junctions in various cell types. Based on the presence of sequence corresponding to a putative PDZ binding motif in Cx36, we investigated anatomical relationships and molecular association of Cx36 with ZO-1. By immunofluorescence, punctate Cx36/ZO-1 colocalization was observed throughout the central nervous system of wild-type mice, whereas labelling for Cx36 was absent in Cx36 knockout mice, confirming the specificity of the anti-Cx36 antibodies employed. By freeze-fracture replica immunogold labelling, Cx36 and ZO-1 in brain were found colocalized within individual ultrastructurally identified gap junction plaques, although some plaques contained only Cx36 whereas others contained only ZO-1. Cx36 from mouse brain and Cx36-transfected HeLa cells was found to coimmunoprecipitate with ZO-1. Unlike other connexins that bind the second of the three PDZ domains in ZO-1, glutathione S-transferase-PDZ pull-down and mutational analyses indicated Cx36 interaction with the first PDZ domain of ZO-1, which required at most the presence of the four c-terminus amino acids of Cx36. These results demonstrating a Cx36/ZO-1 association suggest a regulatory and/or scaffolding role of ZO-1 at gap junctions that form electrical synapses between neurons in mammalian brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2132-2146
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Connexins
  • Electrical synapses
  • Gap junction
  • Neurons
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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