Biophysical properties of heterotypic gap junctions newly formed between two types of insect cells

J Physiol. 1997 Mar 15;499 ( Pt 3)(Pt 3):701-13. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1997.sp021962.


1. Cell pairs of the insect cell line Sf9 (Spodoptera frugiperda) were chosen to examine the electrical properties of gap junction channels. The dual voltage-clamp method was used to control the membrane potential of each cell (Vm,1 and Vm,2) and hence the junctional voltage gradient (Vj), and to measure intercellular current. 2. Studies with preformed pairs revealed that the gap junction conductance (gj) is controlled by a Vj- and a Vm-sensitive gate. At steady state, gj = f(Vj) was bell shaped and symmetrical (Boltzmann: Vj.0 = -54 and 55 mV, the normalized minimum conductance at large Vj values (gj,min) = 0.24 and 0.23, z = 5.5 and 6.1 for negative and positive Vj, respectively) and gj = f(Vm) was S shaped (Vm.0 = 13 mV, gj,min = 0, z = 1.5). 3. Single channels exhibited two conductances, a main state (gamma j,main) of 224 pS and a residual state (gamma j,residual) of 42 pS. 4. We conclude that gap junctions in Sf9 cells behave similarly to those in the insect cell line C6/36 (Aedes albopictus). 5. An induced cell pair approach was used to examine heterotypic gap junction channels between Sf9 cells and C3/36 cells. 6. Heterotypic channels showed a gamma j,main of 303 pS and a gamma j,residual of 45 and 64 pS, depending on whether the Sf9 cell or C6/36 cell was positive inside. 7. In heterotypic gap junctions, gj = f(Vj) was bell shaped and asymmetrical (gj was more sensitive to Vj when the C6/36 cell was positive inside) and gj = f(Vm) was S shaped (Vm,0 = 2 mV, gj,min = 0, z = 2.9). 8. We conclude that heterotypic channels possess a Vj- and Vm-sensitive gating mechanism. Vj gating involves two gates, one located in each hemi-channel. Vj gates are operated independently and close when the cytoplasmic aspect is made positive. 9. A comparison of homo- and heterotypic channel data suggests that docking of hemi-channels may affect channel gating, but not channel conductance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes
  • Animals
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Gap Junctions / physiology*
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Spodoptera