Selective dye and ionic permeability of gap junction channels formed by connexin45.
Gap junctions are thought to mediate the direct intercellular coupling of adjacent cells by the gating of an aqueous pore permeable to ions and molecules of up to 1 kD or 8 to 14 A in diameter. We performed ion-substitution and dye-transfer experiments to determine the relative Cl-/K+ conductance and dye permeability of anionic fluorescein derivatives in chick connexin45 (Cx45) channels. We demonstrate that Cx45 forms a 26 +/- 6-picosiemen (pS) channel with a maximum detectable Cl- permeability of 0.2 relative to K+ or Cs+. Although homogeneous channel conductances were observed in multichannel recordings, the open probability estimates were indicative of nonhomogeneous gating behavior and occasional cooperativity. A second conductance state of 19 +/- 4 pS begins to predominate at higher voltages. Cx45 gap junctions are permeable to 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein but are not permeable to the more polar 6-carboxyfluorescein dye. These observations suggest that the Cx45 pore diameter is approximately 10 A and is associated with a fixed negative charge within the junctional channel.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association