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GAP JUNCTIONS

As multicellular organisms decelop from embryo to adults, gap junctions are made and broken in specific patterns, involving specific tissues. This suggests that these junctions play an important role in signalling between cells during embryonic development.

A) With the understanding of Gap junctions, speculate on what sorts of signalling molecules might be involved in this kind of development (protein, ions, DNA, small molecules.. etc.)

B) What is different between the different cell types of a multicellular organisms? What then is the purpose of the intracellular signalling that occurs during development.?

Solution Preview

Connexins are integral membrane proteins which have evolved into a family of over 20 mammalian members that are most commonly referred to by their molecular weights. These proteins combine with each other to produce channels that directly connect the cytoplasm of adjacent cells. These channels, called gap junctions, enable cells to communicate with each other by sharing hydrophilic molecules of up to around 1 kD in size.

Gap junctional communication is necessary for healthy development and homeostasis. Abnormal ...

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