The novel roles of connexin channels and tunneling nanotubes in cancer pathogenesis

Silvana Valdebenito, Emil Lou, John Baldoni, George Okafo, Eliseo Eugenin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neoplastic growth and cellular differentiation are critical hallmarks of tumor development. It is well established that cell-to-cell communication between tumor cells and “normal” surrounding cells regulates tumor differentiation and proliferation, aggressiveness, and resistance to treatment. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that result in tumor growth and spread as well as the adaptation of healthy surrounding cells to the tumor environment are poorly understood. A major component of these communication systems is composed of connexin (Cx)-containing channels including gap junctions (GJs), tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), and hemichannels (HCs). There are hundreds of reports about the role of Cx-containing channels in the pathogenesis of cancer, and most of them demonstrate a downregulation of these proteins. Nonetheless, new data demonstrate that a localized communication via Cx-containing GJs, HCs, and TNTs plays a key role in tumor growth, differentiation, and resistance to therapies. Moreover, the type and downstream effects of signals communicated between the different populations of tumor cells are still unknown. However, new approaches such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) could provide new insights into these signals communicated between connected cells. We propose that the identification and characterization of these new communication systems and their associated signaling could provide new targets to prevent or reduce the devastating consequences of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1270
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gap junctions
  • Glioblastoma
  • Hemichannels
  • Intercellular communication
  • Tumor microtubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The novel roles of connexin channels and tunneling nanotubes in cancer pathogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this