Lipids in gap junction assembly and function

Barbara Malewicz, V. V. Kumar, Ross G Johnson, Wolfgang J. Baumann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gap junctions (GJ) are important regulators of cellular function. They provide channels for the direct movement of small molecules between cells and thus control cell-to-cell transfer of metabolites and the transmission of various stimuli. Gap junctions have been shown to be involved in a multitude of cellular processes ranging from cell synchronization and neuronal function to cell differentiation and carcinogenesis. Much knowledge has been gained in recent years concerning the structure and molecular organization of GJ proteins; yet, the mechanisms that control and modulate gap junction assembly and function are still not well understood. Although it is quite apparent that the GJ proteins assemble in the lipid milieu of the plasma membrane, and that the cluster of proteins assembled in the junction do function in a lipid environment, there is a general paucity of information on the role of lipids in the gap junction assembly process and in the function of gap junctions. The present review is a comprehensive account of current knowledge on gap junction lipids. We also discuss what is known to date on the involvement of lipids in gap junction formation. Special emphasis is being placed on the potential role of membrane cholesterol in gap junction assembly and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-427
Number of pages9
JournalLipids
Volume25
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1990

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