Date of Award

8-31-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Charles F. Louis - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Jenny J. Yang

Third Advisor

Dr. Vincent Rehder

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Delon W. Barfuss

Abstract

Gap junctions provide direct electrical and biochemical communication between cardiomyocytes in the heart. Connexin40 (Cx40) is the major connexin in the atria of the heart and little is known regarding its regulation. Thus, the goal was to investigate the regulation of Cx40 in both physiological and pathophysiological conditions. The first objective of this thesis was to determine whether Cx40 gap junctions were regulated by â-adrenergic receptor activation. Cx40 has previously been shown to be acutely activated by cAMP, this cAMP-induced increase in Cx40-mediated cell-to-cell dye transfer has been shown to be effected through the â-adrenergic receptor-adenylyl cyclase- Protein Kinase A (PKA) pathway in Cx40-transfected HeLa cells. The second objective of this thesis was to determine whether Cx40 gap junctions were regulated by intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i ). [Ca2+]i was increased by addition of the ionophore ionomycin and elevating extracellular calcium [Ca2+]o from 1.8 mM to 21.8 mM. This resulted in an elevation of [Ca2+]i and effected an inhibition of Cx40-mediated cell-to-cell dye transfer (IC50 of 500 ± 0.72 nM) which was Calmodulin-dependent. The third objective of this thesis was to determine whether Cx40 gap junctions were regulated by ischemia. Inducing ischemia chemically by inhibiting the electron transport chain with sodium cyanide and glycolysis with iodoacetate and 2-deoxyglucose effected an inhibition of Cx40-mediated cell-to-cell dye transfer that was shown to be Calmodulin dependent. The main conclusions of this thesis were: (1) â-adrenergic receptor activation increases Cx40-mediated cell-to-cell dye transfer which requires the activation of PKA; (2) A sustained elevation in [Ca2+]i causes a partial inhibition of Cx40 gap junction-mediated cell-to-cell dye transfer which was Ca2+-and Calmodulin dependent; (3) Chemical ischemia causes a partial inhibition of Cx40 gap junction-mediated cell-to-cell dye transfer which was shown to be Calmodulin-dependent.

Included in

Biology Commons

Share

COinS