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The stage-specific function of gap junctions during tumourigenesis


Tumour development is a process resulting from the disturbance of various cellular functions including cell proliferation, adhesion and motility. While the role of these cell parameters in tumour promotion and progression has been widely recognized, the mechanisms that influence gap junctional coupling during tumorigenesis remain elusive. Neoplastic cells usually display decreased levels of connexin expression and/or gap junctional coupling. Thus, impaired intercellular communication via gap junctions may facilitate the release of a potentially neoplastic cell from the controlling regime of the surrounding tissue, leading to tumour promotion. However, recent data indicates that metastatic tumour cell lines are often characterized by relatively high levels of connexin expression and gap junctional coupling. This review outlines current knowledge on the role of connexins in tumorigenesis and the possible mechanisms of the interference of gap junctional coupling with the processes of tumour invasion and metastasis.





fluorescence-activated cell sorting


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Correspondence to Jarosław Czyż.

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Paper authored by participants of the international conference: XXXIV Winter School of the Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology of Jagiellonian University, Zakopane, March 7–11, 2007, “The Cell and Its Environment”. Publication costs were covered by the organisers of this meeting.

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Czyż, J. The stage-specific function of gap junctions during tumourigenesis. Cell Mol Biol Lett 13, 92–102 (2008).

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Key words

  • Gap junctions
  • Connexin
  • Tumour
  • Neoplasia
  • Metastasis