Connexin and pannexin (hemi)channels: emerging targets in the treatment of liver disease.

Connexin proteins are the building blocks of hemichannels, which dock further between adjacent cells to form gap junctions. Gap junctions control the intercellular exchange of critical homeostasis regulators. By doing so, gap junctions control virtually all aspects of the hepatic life cycle. In the last decade, it has become clear that connexin hemichannels also provide a pathway for cellular communication on their own independent of their role as structural precursors of gap junctions, namely between the cytosol of an individual cell and its extracellular environment. In contrast to gap junctions, connexin hemichannels become particularly active in liver disease by facilitating inflammation and cell death. This equally holds true for cellular channels composed of pannexins, being connexin-like proteins recently identified in the liver that gather in structures reminiscent of hemichannels. This paper gives an overview of the involvement of connexin-based and pannexin-based channels in non-cancerous liver disease.

  • Authors: Cooreman A., Van Campenhout R., Ballet S., Annaert P., Van Den Bossche B., Colle I., Cogliati B., Vinken M.
  • Journal: Hepatology 69: 1317-1323.

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