Antibodies to gap-junctional protein selectively disrupt junctional communication in the early amphibian embryo
Antibodies to the major protein of rat liver gap junctions, molecular weight 27,000 (27K), have been microinjected into one identified cell of 8-cell stage Xenopus embryos. This treatment selectively disrupts both dye transfer and electrical coupling between the progeny cells. These results provide evidence that the 27K protein is an integral component of the cell-to-cell junctional channel. The disruption of junctional communication at early stages results in specific developmental defects, suggesting that blocking intercellular communication can have a pronounced influence on embryonic development.