The coding sequence (333 amino acids) of a new connexin protein, designated mouse connexin37 (Cx37 or Cx37.6) due to the deduced theoretical molecular mass of 37.600 kD, has been determined from cDNA and genomic clones. As seen in other connexins, its gene has no introns within the coding region and the deduced amino acid sequence is predicted to have similar topology to other connexins that form intercellular channels. The amino acid sequence of mouse Cx37 is most similar to rat connexin43 (59% identity) and Xenopus connexin38 (66% identity) when compared from the NH2 terminus to the end of the fourth putative transmembrane region. When expressed in Xenopus oocytes Cx37 forms functional intercellular channels that exhibit more sensitive and rapid gating in response to voltage than any previously characterized vertebrate gap junction. Under stringent conditions the Cx37 cDNA hybridizes to an mRNA of 1.7 kb that is found highly abundant in lung and to progressively lesser extents in brain, kidney, skin, spleen, liver, intestine, and heart. Embryonic brain, kidney, and skin express two to fivefold higher levels of the Cx37 transcript than the corresponding adult tissues. Cx37 transcripts were also found to increase two to threefold in response to retinoic acid treatment of cultured embryonic carcinoma F9 cells.

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