Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. Reviews on Cancer vol:1815 issue:1 pages:13-25
It is nowadays well established that gap junctions are critical gatekeepers of cell proliferation, by controlling the intercellular exchange of essential growth regulators. In recent years, however, it has become clear that the picture is not as simple as originally anticipated, as structural precursors of gap junctions can affect cell cycling by performing actions not related to gap junctional intercellular communication. Indeed, connexin hemichannels also foresee a pathway for cell growth communication, albeit between the intracellular compartment and the extracellular environment, while connexin proteins as such can directly or indirectly influence the production of cell cycle regulators independently of their channel activities. Furthermore, a novel set of connexin-like proteins, the pannexins, have lately joined in as regulators of the cell proliferation process, which they can affect as either single units or as channel entities. In the current paper, these multifaceted aspects of connexin-related signalling in cell cycling are reviewed.