Connexins are protein subunits that constitute gap junction channels. Two members of this gene family, connexin43 (Cx43) and connexin32 (Cx32), are abundantly expressed in the heart and liver, respectively. Human genomic DNA analysis revealed the presence of two loci for Cx43: an expressed gene and a processed pseudogene. The expressed gene (GJA1) was mapped to human chromosome 6 and the pseudogene (GJA1P) to chromosome 5. To determine whether Cx32 was linked to Cx43, somatic cell hybrids were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction and hybridization, resulting in the assignment of the gene for Cx32 (GJB1) to the X chromosome at Xp11----q22. Comparison of the structures of connexin genes suggests that members of this multigene family arose from a single precursor, but evolved to distinct chromosomal locations.
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