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PKA negatively modulates the migration enhancing effect of Connexin 43.

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2019 Feb 12. pii: S0167-4889(18)30392-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2019.02.001. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Kameritsch P, Kiemer F, Mannell H, Beck H, Pohl U, Pogoda K.
Publication Date: 2019


Connexin 43 (Cx43) expression is associated with an increased cell migration and related changes of the actin cytoskeleton (enhanced filopodia formation). These effects are mediated by the C-terminal cytoplasmic part of Cx43 in a channel-independent manner. Since this part has been shown to interact with a variety of proteins and has multiple phosphorylation sites we analyzed here a potential role of the protein kinase A (PKA) for the Cx43 mediated increase in cell migration. Mutation of the PKA-phosphorylation site (substitution of three serines by alanine or glycine) resulted in a further increase in cell motility compared to wild-type Cx43, but with a loss of directionality. Likewise, cell motility was enhanced by PKA inhibition only in Cx43 expressing cells, while reduced in the presence of the PKA activator forskolin. In contrast, cell motility remained unaffected by stimulation with forskolin in cells expressing Cx43 with the mutated PKA phosphorylation site (Cx43-PKA) as well as in Cx-deficient cells. Moreover, PKA activation resulted in increased binding of PKA and VASP to Cx43 associated with an enhanced phosphorylation of VASP, an important regulatory protein of cell polarity and directed migration. Functionally, we could confirm these results in endothelial cells endogenously expressing Cx43. A Tat-Cx43 peptide containing the PKA phosphorylation site abolished the PKA dependent reduction in endothelial cell migration. Our results indicate that PKA dependent phosphorylation of Cx43 modulates cell motility and plays a pivotal role in regulating directed cell migration.

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