Research ArticleOpen Access

Aberrant expression and function of gap junctions during carcinogenesis.

    Published: by:33

    Gap junctional intercellular communication plays a key role in the maintenance of homeostasis in multicellular organisms. Reflecting deranged homeostasis in cancer cells, most transformed or cancerous cells show aberrant gap junctional intercellular communication; they have decreased junctional communication between each other and/or with surrounding normal cells. Studies with in vitro cell transformation and animal carcinogenesis models suggest an involvement of blocked intercellular communication in later stages of carcinogenesis. Analysis of expression of gap junction proteins (connexins) and corresponding mRNA indicates that a number of regulation sites are involved in aberrant function of gap junctions during carcinogenesis. Suppression of transformed phenotypes is often seen when transformed cells are physically in contact with their normal counterparts. Some studies suggest that gap junctional intercellular communication is involved in such tumor suppression.