A fluorescence photobleaching assay of gap junction-mediated communication between human cells

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 Apr 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4749, pp. 525-528
DOI: 10.1126/science.3961495


Gap junction-mediated communication between contiguous cells has been implicated in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation. This report describes a new technique to measure cell-cell communication, gap fluorescence redistribution after photobleaching, which is based on the diffusion-dependent return of 6-carboxyfluorescein-mediated fluorescence in a photobleached cell that is in contact with other fluorescently labeled cells. Fluorescence recovery rates are interpreted as dye transport across gap junctions. Results of experiments on normal human fibroblasts and human teratocarcinoma cells show that this technique can measure rapid dye transfer and detect inhibition of communication (between teratocarcinoma cells) by the tumor promoters 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate and the pesticide dieldrin.