Gap junctions and connexins in the hematopoietic-immune system: Structural considerations

Tibor Krenacs, Ivett Zsakovics, Gergo Kiszner, Martin Rosendaal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Maturation, functional activation, and migration of cells of the hematopoietic-immune system are based on interactions between the mobile immune cells and a dynamic framework formed by stromal, endothelial, and dendritic cells (DCs) in the central and peripheral immune tissues (Delves and Roitt, 2000). Their interactions involving soluble growth factors and adhesion molecules act locally either on adjacent cells or on those at short distance, which do not explain alone the high degree of structural and functional order, observed in hematopoiesis and the immune response in these tissues. Gap junction direct cell-cell communication channels can couple large compartments of the scaffolding cells into networks for coordinating their functions, while also mediating mutual interactions with hematopoietic/immune cells (Rosendaal et al., 1991; Krenacs et al., 1997). Functioning gap junctions (and partly hemichannels too) have been established and their related connexins (Cxs) detected at the mRNA, protein, and ultrastructural levels in the hematopoietic-immune system, including the bone marrow, thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues (MALT) (Krenacs and Rosendaal, 1995; Rosendaal, 1995; Oviedo-Orta and Evans, 2004; Neijssen et al., 2007). By now, all kinds of hematopoietic/lymphoid cells of the innate and adaptive immune system are shown to form Cx channels and functioning gap junctions, except mature red blood cells. Furthermore, connexin expression and function are modulated during development and regeneration, or by pathological conditions of the hematopoietic-immune system (Saez et al., 2003). For instance, they can be upregulated during posttherapy regeneration and downregulated in malignant tumors. These results and Cx gene perturbation experiments underline the significance of Cx channels in the regulation of hematopoiesis and immune functions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConnexin Cell Communication Channels
Subtitle of host publicationRoles in the Immune System and Immunopathology
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781439862582
ISBN (Print)9781439862575
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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    Krenacs, T., Zsakovics, I., Kiszner, G., & Rosendaal, M. (2013). Gap junctions and connexins in the hematopoietic-immune system: Structural considerations. In Connexin Cell Communication Channels: Roles in the Immune System and Immunopathology (pp. 15-26). CRC Press.