University of Nebraska Medical Center

Gaelle Spagnol, PhD

Assistant Professor


Gaelle Spagnol


The main goal of my ongoing research projects is to understand the structural and functional mechanisms regulating cardiac gap junctions using a multidisciplinary approach. In healthy heart, connexin 43 (Cx43) is the most abundant gap junction protein and mediates electrical coupling and impulse propagation in the ventricular myocardium, while Cx45 is primarily expressed in specialized myocytes of the impulse generation and conduction system. However, in the failing heart, Cx45 expression is aberrantly upregulated in ventricles, accompanied by Cx43 remodeling. This enhances the propensity for arrhythmias, which follows from the low conductance and high voltage sensitivity of Cx45 channels relative to Cx43. A major effort of mine is to investigate the intra- and intermolecular interactions involved in the differential regulation of Cx43 and Cx45 in heart diseases and ischemic events. More specifically, phosphorylation of Cx has been shown to play an essential role in regulating the turnover and, consequently, the gap junction communication. We believe that a better understanding of the basis of connexins regulation will lead to the development of new strategies to modulate gap junction communication affected in the disease state.

My lab does not accept students.