Effect of diverse tumor promoters on the expression of gap-junctional proteins connexin (Cx)26, Cx31.1, and Cx43 in SENCAR mouse epidermis

I V Budunova, S Carbajal, T J Slaga
Molecular Carcinogenesis 1996, 15 (3): 202-14
The inhibition of gap-junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) between initiated and surrounding normal cells by tumor promoters is believed to be important in the promotion stage of carcinogenesis. Therefore, we examined the effect of skin-tumor promoters on the expression of the gap-junctional proteins connexin (Cx) 26, Cx43, and Cx31.1 in SENCAR mouse skin. Animals were treated with 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) (8.3 nmol), okadaic acid (OA) (2.5 nmol), chrysarobin (220 nmol), or benzoyl peroxide (BzPo) (83 micromol). Northern blot and immunofluorescence analyses revealed that keratinocytes in adult mouse skin expressed Cx31.1 and Cx43 but not Cx26. All four of the skin-tumor promoters switched on the Cx26 gene, transiently increased expression of Cx43, and significantly inhibited the expression of Cx31.1. The time courses for changes in Cx26, Cx3l. 1, and Cx43 mRNA levels coincided in most cases and in general corresponded well to the time-response curves for hyperplastic changes in mouse skin. The peaks of Cx26 and Cx43 expression and Cx31.1 inhibition appeared 12 h after TPA application and 24 h after OA and chrysarobin application. BzPo elevated the levels of Cx26 and Cx43 transcripts later (peak at 2-4 d). In tumor promoter-treated skin, Cx26 and Cx43 plaques were on the plasma membrane of most keratinocytes. Cx31.1 staining was much weaker than in untreated epidermis. Thus, tumor promoters induce a large change in the expression of several Cxs, which in turn may affect both the level of GJIC and the sensitivity of GJlC to regulatory factors.

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