Nature of Cx30-containing channels in the adult mouse mammary gland

Darren Locke, Susan Jamieson, Torsten Stein, Jade Liu, Malcolm B. Hodgins, Andrew L. Harris, Barry Gusterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Oligonucleotide microarray analysis uniquely shows that several members of the connexin family of gap junction proteins are expressed by the epithelium during mouse mammary gland development. Connexin 26 (Cx26) is present throughout pregnancy and lactation, is then undetectable shortly after weaning, but reappears during involution. Additionally, Cx30 is abundant in late-pregnant and early lactating gland epithelium. From mid-pregnancy into early lactation, Cx26 and Cx30 co-localize in junctional plaques between epithelial cells, forming hemichannels of mixed connexin content. Microarray analysis also shows Cx32 is developmentally restricted to parturition, suggesting that specific modification of gap junction channel composition and/or intercellular communication pathways occurs at parturition. Specifically, heteromeric channels of all pairwise combinations are formed when these connexins are expressed within the same cells. Of these hemichannels, Cx26/Cx32 pores are increasingly sensitive to closure by taurine (an osmolyte implicated in milk protein synthesis) with increasing Cx26 content. In contrast, physiological taurine concentrations have no effect on Cx26/Cx30 and Cx30/Cx32 channel activity. Such changes in connexin expression and channel composition and their chemical modulation are discussed in relation to the various stages of mammary gland development in the adult mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalCell And Tissue Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


  • Connexin
  • Heteromeric
  • Lactation
  • Mouse (Balb/c)
  • Pregnancy
  • Taurine


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