Low pH enhances connexin32 degradation in the pancreatic acinar cell

American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Anamika M ReedFred S Gorelick

Abstract

Decreased extracellular pH is observed in a number of clinical conditions and can sensitize to the development and worsen the severity of acute pancreatitis. Because intercellular communication through gap junctions is pH-sensitive and modulates pancreatitis responses, we evaluated the effects of low pH on gap junctions in the rat pancreatic acinar cell. Decreasing extracellular pH from 7.4 to 7.0 significantly inhibited gap junctional intracellular communication. Acidic pH also significantly reduced levels of connexin32, the predominant gap junction protein in acinar cells, and altered its localization. Increased degradation through the proteasomal, lysosomal, and autophagic pathways mediated the decrease in connexin32 under low-pH conditions. These findings provide the first evidence that low extracellular pH can regulate gap junctional intercellular communication by enhancing connexin degradation.

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