The innexin family of gap junction proteins has 25 members in Caenorhabditis elegans. Here, we describe the first high-resolution expression map of all members through analysis of live worms transformed with green fluorescent protein under the control of entire promoter regions. Our analyses show that innexins have dynamic expression patterns throughout development and are found in virtually all cell types and tissues. Complex tissues, such as the pharynx, intestine, gonad, as well as scaffolding tissues and guidepost cells express a variety of innexins in overlapping or complementary patterns, suggesting they may form heteromeric and heterotypic channels. Innexin expression occurs in several types of cells that are not known to form gap junctions as well as in a pair of migrating cells, suggesting they may have hemichannel function. Therefore, innexins likely play roles in almost all body functions, including embryonic development, cell fate determination, oogenesis, egg laying, pharyngeal pumping, excretion, and locomotion.
Copyright (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.