Identification and localization of connexin26 within the photoreceptor-horizontal cell synaptic complex

Ulrike Janssen-Bienhold, Konrad Schultz, Alexandra Gellhaus, Peter Manuel Schmidt, Josef Ammermuller, Reto Weiler

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Connexin26 (Cx26) is a member of the family of integral membrane proteins that normally form intercellular gap junctional channels. We have used Western blotting, immunofluorescence, immunoelectron microscopy, and single-cell reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction amplification (RT-PCR) to analyze the expression and cellular localization of Cx26 in the carp retina. In the outer plexiform layer, strong clustered Cx26 immunolabeling was concentrated at and restricted to the terminal dendrites of horizontal cells. Single-cell RT-PCR confirmed the expression of Cx26 in carp retinal horizontal cells. 248-bp fragments amplified from cDNAs of four different horizontal cells were cloned and each nucleotide sequence encodes a protein fragment (AA 104-185) with highly significant homology to rat and mouse Cx26. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that only the invaginating dendrites of horizontal cells in intimate lateral association with the presynaptic ribbon complex were labeled. No labeling was found at the photoreceptor membrane and there was no septalaminar structure, indicative of gap junctions, between photoreceptors and horizontal cells. The focal location of Cx26 at the membrane of the dendritic tips of horizontal cells and the lack of gap junctional morphology suggests that Cx26 might form hemichannels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169 - 178
Number of pages10
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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