Nanotechnology based approaches for targeting connexins and gap junctions
Shlok Jindal (a) and P. Gopinath (a, b)
a) Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee -247667, Uttarakhand, India
b) Centre for Nanotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee -247667, Uttarakhand, India
Intercellular communication mediated via gap junctions is a well-known concept, which helps to maintain normal functioning and homeostasis of cells. Connexin, a membrane protein, acts as the structural sub-unit of gap junctions. There are 21 isoforms of connexins present in the human body. Apart from gap junction based functions, connexins are also reported to function independently via different signalling pathways. Together, the gap junctions and connexins play role in a diverse range of physiological processes, in various body tissues. As a result, any dysfunctioning of gap junctions and connexins leads to a spectrum of disorders affecting different organs and tissues of the body. However, therapeutics which specifically target a particular connexin isoform in a particular target tissue are still lacking. This is important as systemic targeting of all connexin isoforms in different tissues will lead to severe side-effects. In this regard, nanotechnology based approaches can help to develop more safe, specific and efficient therapeutics to treat connexin and gap junction based disorders. In this work, we present some of these connexin and gap junction based nanomedicines as well as tissue engineering approaches, employed in different tissues and organs.