Plasma membrane-associated channels known as gap junctions, along with their protein building blocks―connexins―have an important functional role in a range of immunological processes, including heart function, cell growth and specialization, and early development. Spanning basic science and potential clinical applications, Connexin Cell Communication Channels: Roles in the Immune System and Immunopathology assembles and synthesizes four decades of the most important research carried out in this field.
The book first provides a historical overview of the discovery of these membrane channels in cells and tissues of the immune system. It describes their general molecular and biological characteristics and examines how they participate in the evolution, organization, function, and regulation of leukocytes, as well as their interaction with other tissues.
The next section examines immunologically related disease scenarios where gap junctions and connexins have been shown to play a fundamental role. The contributors explain how gap junctional communication participates in the establishment and maintenance of immunological properties such as antibody and cytokine production, as well as lymphocyte immune surveillance in both physiological and pathological conditions. The book explores the most important technical approaches used and how they have been specially adapted to answer key biological questions particular to the mobile nature of leukocytes. It also describes the most recent understanding of how gap junctions and connexins participate in antigen recognition, cross-presentation, lymphocyte activation, and in the assembly and function of the immunological synapse.
Finally, the book focuses on the latest progress made on translating the knowledge gained to specific treatment modalities. Topics in this section include approaches for reducing scarring and cardiac arrhythmia, combating inflammation in the central nervous system, and enhancing epithelial tissue repair. A comprehensive view of achievements in this promising field, the book will inform and update specialists, clinical practitioners, and those studying the potential for commercial applications.