Grant: $94,712 - National Institutes of Health - Sep. 30, 2009
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Award Description: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Gap junctions (GJ) are defined as clusters of closely packed membrane channels containing the connexin protein, connecting two adjoining cells. The channel is composed of two hexamers from each cell and contains oligomers of one or more connexins. GJ serve important functions in direct intercellular communication in almost all vertebrates cell types. Cells dynamically modulate communication through GJ by regulating the synthesis, transport and turnover of these channels. Normal cell and tissue homeostasis as well as developmental processes are dependent on the proper trafficking of connexins and the fast turnover rate of connexins has been hypothesized to be one mechanism of channel function regulation. Many of the mutations in connexin diseases (sensorineural deafness, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, cataracts, for example) result in abnormal trafficking. This proposal focuses on the identification and characterization of connexin trafficking structures using the techniques of tetracysteine genetic tags complexed with biarsenical fluorescent ligands, optical pulse-chase, fluorescence photooxidation, correlative light and electron microscopy and electron tomography to produce 3D reconstructions of selectively labeled connexins in cells. Using these techniques in combination, we aim to study these intermediates at reasonably high electron tomographic resolution (approximately 40-60 Angstroms) in 3D to determine their composition and locations within the context of other cellular components. We have four specific aims for the requested five-year period. Specific Aim 1 follows up on our initial study of Gaietta et al., (2002) by dissecting 'unstimulated' or normal connexin trafficking pathways in endogenously expressing connexin cell lines. Initial studies were done in HeLa cells, a cell line known to produce artificially large quantities of connexins. We are expanding our initial study to investigate cell lines that are unpolarized, polarized and primary to see if the mechanism of adding new gap junction channels to the edges of the plaques is a universal one. Specific Aim 2 explores the question of whether hemichannels are a stable part of the plasma membrane or a short-lived trafficking intermediate. Specific Aim 3 is focused on the connexin structures found during mitosis and whether recycling of connexins occurs. Specific Aim 4 investigates investigate the role that cholesterol plays in plaque maintenance by examining the effect of cholesterol depleting agents and the re-uptake of cholesterol temporally examining this process at higher resolution and in 3-D than previously published.
Project Description: As defined in the award description field.
Jobs Summary: No job was created or retained during this quarter. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Not Started
This award's data was last updated on Sep. 30, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.