Document Type


Journal Title

Molecular biology of the cell

Publication Date

Winter 12-1-2006




The constituent proteins of gap junctions, called connexins (Cxs), have a short half-life. Despite this, the physiological stimuli that control the assembly of Cxs into gap junctions and their degradation have remained poorly understood. We show here that in androgen-responsive human prostate cancer cells, androgens control the expression level of Cx32-and hence the extent of gap junction formation-post-translationally. In the absence of androgens, a major fraction of Cx32 is degraded presumably by endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation, whereas in their presence, this fraction is rescued from degradation. We also show that Cx32 and Cx43 degrade by a similar mechanism. Thus, androgens regulate the formation and degradation of gap junctions by rerouting the pool of Cxs, which normally would have been degraded from the early secretory compartment, to the cell surface, and enhancing assembly into gap junctions. Androgens had no significant effect on the formation and degradation of adherens and tight junction-associated proteins. The findings that in a cell culture model that mimics the progression of human prostate cancer, degradation of Cxs, as well as formation of gap junctions, are androgen-dependent strongly implicate an important role of junctional communication in the prostate morphogenesis and oncogenesis.

MeSH Headings

Androgens, Animals, Cell Communication, Connexins, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Gap Junctions, Golgi Apparatus, Humans, Lysosomes, Male, Prostatic Neoplasms, Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Rats, Receptors, Androgen, Retroviridae, Tight Junctions



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.