Intercellular junctional communication is very common in normal organized tissue1. It provides a pathway for transmission of electrical signals, especially in heart muscle2,3, and may be important in differentiation and growth control1,4. The hydrophilic channels which enable cell-cell communication have been well characterized by biophysical methods5,6, and there is now good evidence that they are contained in the nexus (gap junctions)3,7-9. Little, however, is known about the molecular mechanism of biosynthesis of junctional channels. Knowledge in this area has been obtained almost exclusively from experiments with reaggregated cells10-15, a system complicated by the fact that de novo synthesis of channel proteins is obscured by reassembly of pre-existing subunits or utilization of precursors. To avoid these problems, we have now isolated mRNA from cells that are in the process of making new intercellular nexus with high efficiency, incorporated it via liposomes into communication-defective cells and have shown that the recipient cells established junctional communication.
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