About this Research Topic
Cell-to-cell communications, both metabolic and electrical, are critical for homeostasis and repair of the central nervous system (CNS). Connexin and pannexin membrane channels are conduits through which CNS neurons, glial and vascular cells interact and coordinate their activity. Gap junction channels formed by opposing hemichannels on the surface of two adjacent cells interconnect these cell types into a functional network. In contrast, unopposed hemichannels, formed by either connexins or pannexins that connect cells only with environment, and allow a long range inter-network communication. In addition, the members of both protein families have several physiological states and post-translational modifications, which can modulate their properties and allow performing diverse physiological and structural functions. It is becoming clear that signaling pathways mediated by these channels are essential for normal CNS function. Deregulation and/or functional disruption of these channels, however, causes numerous neurological deficits as a result of systems response to miscommunication between sub-populations of neural cells. The knowledge of the molecular machinery involved in channel regulation in the CNS, is important for understanding systems responses to physiological and pathological stimuli.
This Research Topic represents a collection of work from leading investigators in the field of connexin and pannexin communication pathways and connectomics. It focuses on current insights and emerging concepts on functions and modulation of these essential elements in the CNS under neuroprotective and neurodegenerative conditions.
Keywords: retina, gap junctions, hemichannels, physiology, signaling, retinal disease
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