Connexin (Cx) and pannexin (Panx) containing channels – gap junctions (GJs) and hemichannels (HCs) – are present in virtually all cells and tissues. Currently, the role of these channels under physiological conditions is well defined. However, their role in the immune response and pathological conditions has only recently been explored. Data from several laboratories demonstrates that infectious agents, including HIV, have evolved to take advantage of GJs and HCs to improve viral/bacterial replication, enhance inflammation, and help spread toxicity into neighboring areas. In the current review, we discuss the role of Cx and Panx containing channels in immune activation and the pathogenesis of several infectious diseases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Gap Junction Proteins edited by Jean Claude Herve.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology