Mechanisms of Connexin Regulating Peptides
Gap junctions (GJ) and connexins play integral roles in cellular physiology and have been found to be involved in multiple pathophysiological states from cancer to cardiovascular disease. Studies over the last 60 years have demonstrated the utility of altering GJ signaling pathways in experimental models, which has led to them being attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. A number of different mechanisms have been proposed to regulate GJ signaling, including channel blocking, enhancing channel open state, and disrupting protein-protein interactions. The primary mechanism for this has been through the design of numerous peptides as therapeutics, that are either currently in early development or are in various stages of clinical trials. Despite over 25 years of research into connexin targeting peptides, the overall mechanisms of action are still poorly understood. In this overview, we discuss published connexin targeting peptides, their reported mechanisms of action, and the potential for these molecules in the treatment of disease.