Gap junctions allow intercellular communication. Their structural subunits are four-transmembrane proteins named connexins (Cxs), which can be post-transcriptionally regulated by developmental and cellular signalling cues. Cx translation and mRNA stability is regulated by miRNAs and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) such as human antigen R (HuR). In addition, several Cxs have also been suggested to contain 5′ internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements that are thought to allow cap-independent translation in situations such as mitosis, stress and senescence. Furthermore, several recent reports have documented internal translation of Cx mRNAs that result in N-terminally truncated protein isoforms that may have unique gap junction-independent functions [Ul-Hussain et al. (2008) BMC Mol. Biol. 9, 52; Smyth and Shaw (2013) Cell Rep. 5, 611–618; Salat-Canela et al. (2014) Cell Commun. Signal. 12, 31; Ul-Hussain et al. (2014) J. Biol. Chem. 289, 20979–20990]. This review covers the emerging field of the post-transcriptional regulation of Cxs, with particular focus on the translational control of Cx 43 and its possible functional consequences.

You do not currently have access to this content.