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Robert T. R. Huckstepp, Robert Eason, Anshu Sachdev and Nicholas Dale CO2-dependent opening of connexin 26 and related β connexins The Journal of Physiology 588

Version of Record online: 14 OCT 2010 | DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.192096

We have previously shown that Cx26 plays an important role in the detection of CO2 and opens to allow the release of ATP, which excites neurons of the breathing network to mediate homeostatic control of the levels of CO2 in the blood. In this paper we study the properties of Cx26 and related connexins to see whether they can respond to changes in CO2 directly. A small number of evolutionarily close connexins respond to changes in CO2. Cx26 is particularly sensitive to CO2 over ranges that are relevant to the control of breathing and most likely responds directly to CO2 itself rather than through an intermediary. As Cx26 is widely distributed across the surface of the brain, it could play a role in a number of other CO2-sensitive processes such as control of blood flow through the brain.

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