Drebrins and Connexins: A Biomedical Perspective

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;1006:225-247. doi: 10.1007/978-4-431-56550-5_13.


In this chapter we summarize knowledge on the role of drebrin in cell-cell communications. Specifically, we follow drebrin-connexin-43 interactions and drebrin behavior at the cell-cell interface described earlier. Drebrin is a part of the actin cytoskeleton which is a target of numerous bacteria and viruses invading mammalian cells. Drebrin phosphorylation, self-inhibition and transition between filaments, particles, and podosomes underlie cellular mechanisms involved in diseases and cognitive disorders. Cytoskeletal rearrangements influence the state of gap junction contacts which regulate cell signaling and metabolic flow of information across cells in tissues. Taking into account that connexin-43 (Cx43) (together with Cx30) is heavily expressed in astrocytes and that drebrin supports cell-cell contacts, the understanding of details of how brain cells live and die reveals molecular pathology involved in neurodegeneration, Alzheimer's disease (AD), other cognitive disorders, and aging.Bidirectional connexin channels are permeable to Ca2+ ions, IP3, ATP, and cAMP. Connexin hemichannels are important for paracrine regulation and can release and exchange energy with other cells using ATP to transfer information and to support damaged cells. Connexin channels, hemichannels, and adhesion plaques are regulated by assembly and disassembly of the actin cytoskeleton. Drebrin degradation can alter gap junction communication, and drebrin level is decreased in the brain of AD patients. The diversity of drebrin functions in neurons, astrocytes, and non-neuronal cells still remains to be revealed. We believe that the knowledge on drebrin summarized here will contribute to key questions, "covering the gap" between cell-cell communications and the submembrane cytoskeleton.

Keywords: Actin; Astrocytes; CDRs; Calcium; Connexins; Drebrin; Myosin; Neurodegeneration; Small GTPases; cAMP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Cell Communication / genetics
  • Connexin 43 / genetics
  • Connexin 43 / metabolism*
  • Gap Junctions / genetics
  • Gap Junctions / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration / genetics*
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*


  • Connexin 43
  • Neuropeptides
  • drebrins