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Calcineurin-dependent regulation of gap junction conductance and connexin phosphorylation in guinea pig left atrium.

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Jabr, RI 
Salvage, SC 
Hatch, FS 
Fry, CH 


Atrial fibrillation (AF) occurs from disordered atrial action potential conduction and is associated with reduced gap junction electrical conductance (Gj). The Ca2+ and calmodulin-dependent phosphatase, calcineurin, reduces Gj in ventricular myocardium via a protein phosphatase-1 (PP1)-dependent pathway culminating in phosphorylation of serine368 on connexin43 (pSer368-Cx43). However, characterisation of corresponding pathways in left atrial myocardium, which have a more complex connexin subtype profile, is undefined and was the aim of this study. Gj was measured in guinea-pig left atrium from the frequency-dependent variation of intracellular impedance; intracellular [Ca2+], ([Ca2+]i) in low-Na solution was measured by Fura-2 fluorescence. Phosphorylation of guinea-pig Ser368-Cx43 residues was measured by Western blot; Cx40 was immunoprecipitated and probed for serine/threonine residue phosphorylation. Low-Na solution reversibly reduced Gj, in turn attenuated or prevented by calcineurin inhibitors cyclosporin-A or CAIP, respectively. Moreover, Ser368-Cx43 phosphorylation in low-Na solution was also prevented by CAIP. Changes were partially prevented by fostreicin (FST), a protein phosphatase-2A (PP2A) inhibitor; but not by tautomycin, a PP1 inhibitor. Serine/threonine residues on Cx40 were also phosphorylated in low-Na solution; prevented by CAIP and attenuated by FST. Reduced Gj with raised [Ca2+]i is paralleled by a changed Cx43/Cx40 phosphorylation status; changes mediated by calcineurin and PP2A-dependent pathways, but not PP1. The pharmacological profile underlying changes to guinea-pig atrial gap junction electrical conductance with raised intracellular [Ca2+]i is fundamentally different from that in ventricular myocardium. This provides a targeted drug model whereby atrial and ventricular myocardium can be selectively targeted to correct conduction defects.


Acknowledgements: The authors are very grateful to Dr Aamir Ahmed (University College London) for critically reading the final manuscript.


Calcineurin, Connexin, Gap junction electrical conductance, Gap junctions, Left atrium, Phosphorylation, Animals, Guinea Pigs, Connexins, Connexin 43, Calcineurin, Phosphorylation, Atrial Fibrillation, Gap Junctions, Heart Atria

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Pflugers Arch

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
HASTE (H1 myocardium, H1 myocardium, H1 myocardium, H1 myocardium)