We have shown previously that insulin-like growth factor-I or lens epithelium-derived growth factor increases the translocation of protein kinase Cgamma (PKCgamma)to the membrane and the phosphorylation of Cx43 by PKCgamma and causes a subsequent decrease of gap junction activity (Nguyen, T. A., Boyle, D. L., Wagner, L. M., Shinohara, T., and Takemoto, D. J. (2003) Exp. Eye Res. 76, 565-572; Lin, D., Boyle, D. L., and Takemoto, D. J. (2003) Investig. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 44, 1160-1168). Gap junction activity in lens epithelial cells is regulated by PKCgamma-mediated phosphorylation of Cx43. PKCgamma activity is stimulated by growth factor-regulated increases in the synthesis of diacylglycerol but is inhibited by cytosolic docking proteins such as 14-3-3. Here we have identified two sites on the PKCgamma-C1B domain that are responsible for its interaction with 14-3-3epsilon. Two sites, C1B1 (residues 101-112) and C1B5 (residues 141-151), are located within the C1 domain of PKCgamma. C1B1 and/or C1B5 synthetic peptides can directly compete for the binding of 14-3-3epsilon, resulting in the release of endogenous cellular PKCgamma from 14-3-3epsilon, in vivo or in vitro, in activation of PKCgamma enzyme activity, phosphorylation of PKCgamma, in the subsequent translocation of PKCgamma to the membrane, and in inhibition of gap junction activity. Gap junction activity was decreased by at least 5-fold in cells treated with C1B1 or C1B5 peptides when compared with a control. 100 microM of C1B1 or C1B5 peptides also caused a 10- or 4-fold decrease of Cx43 plaque formation compared with control cells. The uptake of these synthetic peptides into cells was verified by using high pressure liquid chromatography and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight-mass spectrometry. We have demonstrated that the activity and localization of PKCgamma are regulated by its binding to 14-3-3epsilon at the C1B domain of PKCgamma. Synthetic peptides corresponding to these regions of PKCgamma successfully competed for the binding of 14-3-3epsilon to endogenous PKCgamma, resulting in inhibition of gap junction activity. This demonstrates that synthetic peptides can be used to exogenously regulate gap junctions.