E3 ubiquitin ligases LNX1 and LNX2 localize at neuronal gap junctions formed by connexin36 in rodent brain and molecularly interact with connexin36

Bruce D. Lynn, Xinbo Li, Sheriar G. Hormuzdi, Emily K. Griffiths, C. Jane McGlade, James I. Nagy (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Electrical synapses in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) are increasingly recognized as highly complex structures for mediation of neuronal communication, both with respect to their capacity for dynamic short- and long-term modification in efficacy of synaptic transmission and their multimolecular regulatory and structural components. These two characteristics are inextricably linked, such that understanding of mechanisms that contribute to electrical synaptic plasticity requires knowledge of the molecular composition of electrical synapses and the functions of proteins associated with these synapses. Here, we provide evidence that the key component of gap junctions that form the majority of electrical synapses in the mammalian CNS, namely connexin36 (Cx36), directly interacts with the related E3 ubiquitin ligase proteins Ligand of NUMB protein X1 (LNX1) and Ligand of NUMB protein X2 (LNX2). This is based on immunofluorescence colocalization of LNX1 and LNX2 with Cx36-containing gap junctions in adult mouse brain versus lack of such coassociation in LNX null mice, coimmunoprecipitation of LNX proteins with Cx36, and pull-down of Cx36 with the second PDZ domain of LNX1 and LNX2. Furthermore, cotransfection of cultured cells with Cx36 and E3 ubiquitin ligase-competent LNX1 and LNX2 isoforms led to loss of Cx36-containing gap junctions between cells, whereas these junctions persisted following transfection with isoforms of these proteins that lack ligase activity. Our results suggest that a LNX protein mediates ubiquitination of Cx36 at neuronal gap junctions, with consequent Cx36 internalization, and may thereby contribute to intracellular mechanisms that govern the recently identified modifiability of synaptic transmission at electrical synapses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3062-3081
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number9
Early online date8 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • connexin degradation
  • connexin trafficking
  • electrical synapses
  • gap junctions
  • ubiquitination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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