Innexin genes and gap junction proteins in the locust frontal ganglion

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Mar;39(3):224-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2008.12.002. Epub 2008 Dec 16.


Gap junctions (GJs) belong to one of the most conserved cellular structures in multicellular organisms. They probably serve similar functions in all Metazoa, providing one of the most common forms of intercellular communication. GJs are widely distributed in embryonic cells and tissues and have been attributed an important role in development, modulating cell growth and differentiation. These channels have been also implicated in mediating electrical synaptic signaling; Coupling through GJs is now accepted as a major pathway that supports network behavior and contributes to physiological rhythms. Here we focus on the physiology and molecular biology of GJs in a recently established model for the study of rhythm-generating networks and their role in behavior: the frontal ganglion (FG) of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria. Four novel genes of the invertebrate GJs (innexin) gene family were found to be expressed in the FG: Sg-inx1, Sg-inx2, Sg-inx3 and Sg-inx4. Immunohistochemistry revealed that some of the neurons in the FG express at least one innexin protein, INX1. We also established the presence of functional gap junction proteins in the FG and demonstrated functional electrical coupling between the neurons in the FG. This study forms the basis for further investigation of the role of GJs in network development and behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Connexins / chemistry
  • Connexins / genetics*
  • Connexins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / chemistry
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Grasshoppers / chemistry
  • Grasshoppers / classification
  • Grasshoppers / genetics*
  • Grasshoppers / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Connexins
  • Insect Proteins