Involvement of the Gap Junction Protein, Connexin43, in the Formation and Function of Invadopodia in the Human U251 Glioblastoma Cell Line

Amandine ChepiedZeinaba Daoud-OmarAnnie-Claire Meunier-BalandreDale W Laird  Marc MesnilNorah Defamie

Cells. 2020 Jan 3;9(1):117.doi: 10.3390/cells9010117.


The resistance of glioblastomas to treatments is mainly the consequence of their invasive capacities. Therefore, in order to better treat these tumors, it is important to understand the molecular mechanisms which are responsible for this behavior. Previous work suggested that gap junction proteins, the connexins, facilitate the aggressive nature of glioma cells. Here, we show that one of them-connexin43 (Cx43)-is implicated in the formation and function of invadopodia responsible for invasion capacity of U251 human glioblastoma cells. Immunofluorescent approaches-combined with confocal analyses-revealed that Cx43 was detected in all the formation stages of invadopodia exhibiting proteolytic activity. Clearly, Cx43 appeared to be localized in invadopodia at low cell density and less associated with the establishment of gap junctions. Accordingly, lower extracellular matrix degradation correlated with less mature invadopodia and MMP2 activity when Cx43 expression was decreased by shRNA strategies. Moreover, the kinetics of invadopodia formation could be dependent on Cx43 dynamic interactions with partners including Src and cortactin. Interestingly, it also appeared that invadopodia formation and MMP2 activity are dependent on Cx43 hemichannel activity. In conclusion, these results reveal that Cx43 might be involved in the formation and function of the invadopodia of U251 glioblastoma cells.


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