Lentivirus-mediated transduction of connexin cDNAs shows level- and isoform-specific alterations in insulin secretion of primary pancreatic beta-cells
We have generated novel lentiviral vectors to integrate various connexin cDNAs into primary, non-dividing cells. We have used these vectors to test whether proper control of insulin secretion depends on a specific connexin isoform and/or on its level of expression. We have observed that transduced connexin32, connexin36 and connexin43 were expressed by primary adult beta-cells at membrane interfaces, were packed into typical gap junction plaques and formed functional channels that allowed a variable coupling, depending on the type and level of connexin expressed. The infected cells spontaneously reaggregated into three-dimensional pseudo-islet organs that could be maintained in culture. We have found that pseudo-islets made by cells transduced with either GFP- or connexin43-expressing lentivirus released insulin in response to various secretagogues similarly to controls. By contrast, pseudo-islets made by cells expressing connexin32, a connexin exogenous to pancreatic islets, or over-expressing connexin36, the endogenous islet connexin, featured a marked decrease in the secretory response to glucose. The data show: (1) that lentiviral vectors allow stable modulation of various connexin in primary, non-proliferating cells; (2) that specific connexin isoforms affect insulin secretion differently; and (3) that adequate levels of coupling via connexin36 channels are required for proper beta-cell function.
Record created on 2006-08-11, modified on 2016-12-15