Patch-clamp study reveals that the importance of connexin43-mediated gap junctional communication for ovarian folliculogenesis is strain specific in the mouse

Dan Tong, Joanne E.I. Gittens, Gerald M. Kidder, Donglin Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genetic ablation of connexin37 (Cx37) or connexin43 (Cx43), the two gap junction proteins expressed by mouse ovarian granulosa cells, has been shown to result in impaired follicle development. We used patch-clamp techniques to evaluate quantitatively the contribution of these connexins to gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) among granulosa cells. The coupling conductance derived from a voltage step-induced capacitive current transient was used as a measure of GJIC in cultured granulosa cells. Using this method, we determined that the conductance of wild-type (84.1 ± 28.6 nS; n = 6) and Cx37-deficient granulosa cells (83.7 ± 6.4 nS; n = 11) does not differ significantly (P = 0.35), suggesting a limited contribution, if any, of Cx37 to granulosa cell coupling. In contrast, the conductance between granulosa cells of Cx43-deficient mice (2.6 ± 0.8 nS; n = 5) was not significantly different from that of single, isolated wild-type granulosa cells (2.5 ± 0.7 nS, n = 5; P = 0.83), indicating that Cx43-deficient granulosa cells were not electrically coupled. A direct measurement of transjunctional conductance between isolated granulosa cell pairs using a dual patch-clamp technique confirmed this conclusion. Interestingly, a partial rescue of folliculogenesis was observed when the Cx43-null mutation in C57BL/6 mice was crossed into the CD1 strain, and capacitive current measurement demonstrated that this rescue was not due to reestablishment of GJIC. These results demonstrate that folliculogenesis is impaired in the absence of GJIC between granulosa cells, but they also indicate that the severity is dependent on genetic background, a phenomenon that cannot be attributed to the expression of additional connexins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C290-C297
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Volume290
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Connexin37
  • Intercellular communication
  • Oogenesis
  • Ovarian follicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

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