Functional expression of the new gap junction gene connexin47 transcribed in mouse brain and spinal cord neurons

J Neurosci. 2001 Feb 15;21(4):1117-26. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.21-04-01117.2001.


A new mouse gap junction gene that codes for a protein of 46,551 Da has been identified and designated connexin47 (Cx47). It mapped as a single-copy gene to mouse chromosome 11. In human HeLa cells and Xenopus oocytes, expression of mouse Cx47 or a fusion protein of Cx47 and enhanced green fluorescent protein induced intercellular channels that displayed strong sensitivity to transjunctional voltage. Tracer injections in Cx47-transfected HeLa cells revealed intercellular diffusion of neurobiotin, Lucifer yellow, and 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole. Recordings of single channels yielded a unitary conductance of 55 pS main state and 8 pS substate. Cx47 mRNA expression was high in spinal cord and brain but was not found in retina, liver, heart, and lung. A low level of Cx47 expression was detected in ovaries. In situ hybridizations demonstrated high expression in alpha motor neurons of the spinal cord, pyramidal cells of the cortex and hippocampus, granular and molecular layers of the dentate gyrus, and Purkinje cells of the cerebellum as well as several nuclei of the brainstem. This expression pattern is distinct from, although partially overlapping with, that of the neuronally expressed connexin36 gene. Thus, electrical synapses in adult mammalian brain are likely to consist of different connexin proteins depending on the neuronal subtype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Connexins / biosynthesis*
  • Connexins / genetics
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gap Junctions / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Transfection
  • Xenopus


  • Connexins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • connexin 47
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ276435