Connexin 43 (CX43), a protein that forms gap junction channels and hemichannels in astrocytes.
Small Interference RNA Targeting Connexin-43 Improves Motor Function and Limits Astrogliosis After Juvenile Traumatic Brain Injury 1).
It is downregulated in high-grade gliomas. Its relevance for glioma therapy has been thoroughly explored; however, its positive effects on proliferation are counterbalanced by its effects on migration and invasion. Here, we show that a cell-penetrating peptide based on CX43 (TAT-Cx43266-283) inhibited c-Src and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and upregulated phosphatase and tensin homolog in glioma stem cells (GSCs) derived from patients. Consequently, TAT-Cx43266-283 reduced GSC motility, as analyzed by time-lapse microscopy, and strongly reduced their invasive ability. Interestingly, we investigated the effects of TAT-Cx43266-283 on freshly removed surgical specimens as undissociated glioblastoma blocks, which revealed a dramatic reduction in the growth, migration, and survival of these cells. In conclusion, a region of CX43 (amino acids 266-283) exerts an important anti-tumor effect in patient-derived glioblastoma models that includes impairment of GSC migration and invasion 2).
Human and mouse breast and lung cancer cells express protocadherin 7 (PCDH7), which promotes the assembly of carcinoma-astrocyte gap junctions composed of connexin 43 (Cx43). Once engaged with the astrocyte gap-junctional network, brain metastatic cancer cells use these channels to transfer the second messenger cGAMP to astrocytes, activating the STING pathway and production of inflammatory cytokines such as interferon-α (IFNα) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). As paracrine signals, these factors activate the STAT1 and NF-κB pathways in brain metastatic cells, thereby supporting tumour growth and chemoresistance. The orally bioavailable modulators of gap junctions meclofenamate and tonabersat break this paracrine loop, and we provide proof-of-principle that these drugs could be used to treat established brain metastasis 3).