Regulation of connexin43 expression and function by prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) in osteoblastic cells

Roberto Civitelli, Konstantinos Ziambaras, Pamela M. Warlow, Fernando Lecanda, Tracy Nelson, James Harley, Namita Atal, Eric C. Beyer, Thomas H. Steinberg

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91 Scopus citations


Connexin43 (Cx43) forms gap junctions that mediate intercellular communication between osteoblasts. We have examined the effects of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) on gap junctional communication in the rat osteogenic sarcoma cells UMR 106-01. Incubation with either PGE2 or PTH rapidly (within 30 rain) increased transfer of negatively charged dyes between UMR 106-01 cells. This stimulatory effect lasted for at least 4 h. Both PGE2 and PTH increased steady-state levels of Cx43 mRNA, but only after 2-4 h of incubation. Transfection with a Cx43 gene construct linked to luciferase showed that this effect of PTH was the result of transcriptional upregulation of Cx43 promoter. Stimulation of dye coupling and Cx43 gene transcription were reproduced by forskolin and 8Br-cAMP. Exposure to PGE2 for 30 min increased Cx43 abundance at appositional membranes in UMR 106-01, whereas total Cx43 protein levels increased only after 4-6 h of incubation with either PGE2 or PTH. Inhibition of protein synthesis by cycloheximide did not affect this early stimulation of dye coupling, but it significantly inhibited the sustained effect of PTH and forskolin on cell coupling. In summary, both PTH and PGE2, presumably through cAMP production, enhance gap junctional communication in osteoblastic cell cultures via two mechanisms: initial rapid redistribution of Cx43 to the cell membrane, and later stimulation of Cx43 gene expression. Modulation of intercellular communication represents a novel mechanism by which osteotropic factors regulate the activity of bone forming cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-21
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Connexin43
  • Dye-coupling
  • Gap junctions
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Prostaglandin E


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