Multiple epidermal connexins are expressed in different keratinocyte subpopulations including connexin 31

J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Oct;117(4):958-64. doi: 10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01468.x.


Recent genetic studies have demonstrated the importance of epidermal gap junctions with mutations in four beta-connexins associated with autosomal dominant epidermal disease. One of these disorders, erythrokeratoderma variabilis, is associated with germline mutations in the genes encoding connexins (Cx) Cx31 and Cx30.3. Towards understanding the functional mechanism of Cx31 mutations in epidermal disease, we have developed and characterized a polyclonal antibody raised against human Cx31. Using this antibody to immunostain normal epidermis, Cx31 protein was found to be expressed predominately in the stratum granulosum with a punctate pattern of staining at the plasma membrane. In addition, we used reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and, where reagents were available, immunocytochemistry to investigate which other connexins are expressed in the epidermis. Surprisingly, this analysis revealed that there are at least 10 connexins expressed with an overlapping distribution and localization to distinct keratinocyte subpopulations. These data provide additional evidence for multiple gap junction channel types in the human epidermis. Elucidation of this complexity of channel types with respect to specific permeabilities and function of each wildtype and mutant channel type in epidermal biology will require further investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Connexins / immunology
  • Connexins / metabolism*
  • Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunologic Techniques
  • Keratinocytes / classification
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antibodies
  • Connexins
  • GJB3 protein, human