Connexin 43 expression in the mouse embryo: localization of transcripts within developmentally significant domains

Dev Dyn. 1992 Aug;194(4):261-81. doi: 10.1002/aja.1001940403.


The expression of the gap junction gene, Cx43, during mouse embryogenesis was characterized by an in situ hybridization analysis of mouse embryos from gestation days 4.5 to 12.5. This analysis revealed that Cx43 transcripts are differentially expressed as a function of development beginning at the blastocyst stage. In many regions of the embryo, Cx43 transcripts were found in discrete spatially restricted domains. This was observed in conjunction with the development of the brain, neural tube, prevertebra, limb, and various aspects of organogenesis. In some cases, the differential localization of Cx43 transcripts is associated with developmental processes mediated by inductive interactions, such as that of the eye, otic vesicle, kidney, and the branchial arches. In addition, in the 10.5 day embryo, Cx43 transcripts appear to be distributed as a gradient in regions spanning the midbrain/hindbrain junction, in the telencephalon, and in the limb mesenchyme. Surprisingly, our results also suggest that neural crest and sclerotomal cells, i.e., cells that are presumably migratory, express high levels of Cx43 transcripts. Overall, these results suggest that gap junctions encoded by Cx43 may play a role in various aspects of mouse development, possibly including relaying second messengers emanating from signal transduction pathways that mediate inductive interactions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Connexins
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Morphogenesis
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Spinal Cord / embryology*


  • Connexins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger