Functional properties of a new voltage-dependent calcium channel alpha(2)delta auxiliary subunit gene (CACNA2D2).
ABSTRACT: We have positionally cloned and characterized a new calcium channel auxiliary subunit, alpha(2)delta-2 (CACNA2D2), which shares 56% amino acid identity with the known alpha(2)delta-1 subunit. The gene maps to the critical human tumor suppressor gene region in chromosome 3p21.3, showing very frequent allele loss and occasional homozygous deletions in lung, breast, and other cancers. The tissue distribution of alpha(2)delta-2 expression is different from alpha(2)delta-1, and alpha(2)delta-2 mRNA is most abundantly expressed in lung and testis and well expressed in brain, heart, and pancreas. In contrast, alpha(2)delta-1 is expressed predominantly in brain, heart, and skeletal muscle. When co-expressed (via cRNA injections) with alpha(1B) and beta(3) subunits in Xenopus oocytes, alpha(2)delta-2 increased peak size of the N-type Ca(2+) currents 9-fold, and when co-expressed with alpha(1C) or alpha(1G) subunits in Xenopus oocytes increased peak size of L-type channels 2-fold and T-type channels 1.8-fold, respectively. Anti-peptide antibodies detect the expression of a 129-kDa alpha(2)delta-2 polypeptide in some but not all lung tumor cells. We conclude that the alpha(2)delta-2 gene encodes a functional auxiliary subunit of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. Because of its chromosomal location and expression patterns, CACNA2D2 needs to be explored as a potential tumor suppressor gene linking Ca(2+) signaling and lung, breast, and other cancer pathogenesis. The homologous location on mouse chromosome 9 is also the site of the mouse neurologic mutant ducky (du), and thus, CACNA2D2 is also a candidate gene for this inherited idiopathic generalized epilepsy syndrome.
Project description:The auxiliary Ca(V)alpha(2)delta-1 subunit is an important component of voltage-gated Ca(2+) (Ca(V)) channel complexes in many tissues and of great interest as a drug target. Nevertheless, its exact role in specific cell functions is still unknown. This is particularly important in the case of the neuronal L-type Ca(V) channels where these proteins play a key role in the secretion of neurotransmitters and hormones, gene expression, and the activation of other ion channels. Therefore, using a combined approach of patch-clamp recordings and molecular biology, we studied the role of the Ca(V)alpha(2)delta-1 subunit on the functional expression and the pharmacology of recombinant L-type Ca(V)1.3 channels in HEK-293 cells. Co-expression of Ca(V)alpha(2)delta-1 significantly increased macroscopic currents and conferred the Ca(V)1.3alpha(1)/Ca(V)beta(3) channels sensitivity to the antiepileptic/analgesic drugs gabapentin and AdGABA. In contrast, Ca(V)alpha(2)delta-1 subunits harboring point mutations in N-glycosylation consensus sequences or the proteolytic site as well as in conserved cysteines in the transmembrane delta domain of the protein, reduced functionality in terms of enhancement of Ca(V)1.3alpha(1)/Ca(V)beta(3) currents. In addition, co-expression of the delta domain drastically inhibited macroscopic currents through recombinant Ca(V)1.3 channels possibly by affecting channel synthesis. Together these results provide several lines of evidence that the Ca(V)alpha(2)delta-1 auxiliary subunit may interact with Ca(V)1.3 channels and regulate their functional expression.
Project description:Voltage-dependent L-type (Ca(V)1.2) Ca(2+) channels are a heteromeric complex formed from pore-forming alpha(1) and auxiliary alpha(2)delta and beta subunits. Ca(V)1.2 channels are the principal Ca(2+) influx pathway in arterial myocytes and regulate multiple physiological functions, including contraction. The macromolecular composition of arterial myocyte Ca(V)1.2 channels remains poorly understood, with no studies having examined the molecular identity or physiological functions of alpha(2)delta subunits.We investigated the functional significance of alpha(2)delta subunits in myocytes of resistance-size (100 to 200 mum diameter) cerebral arteries.alpha(2)delta-1 was the only alpha(2)delta isoform expressed in cerebral artery myocytes. Pregabalin, an alpha(2)delta-1/-2 ligand, and an alpha(2)delta-1 antibody, inhibited Ca(V)1.2 currents in isolated myocytes. Acute pregabalin application reversibly dilated pressurized arteries. Using a novel application of surface biotinylation, data indicated that >95% of Ca(V)1.2 alpha(1) and alpha(2)delta-1 subunits were present in the arterial myocyte plasma membrane. Alpha(2)delta-1 knockdown using short hairpin RNA reduced plasma membrane-localized Ca(V)1.2 alpha(1) subunits, caused a corresponding elevation in cytosolic Ca(V)1.2 alpha(1) subunits, decreased intracellular Ca(2+) concentration, inhibited pressure-induced vasoconstriction ("myogenic tone"), and attenuated pregabalin-induced vasodilation. Prolonged (24-hour) pregabalin exposure did not alter total alpha(2)delta-1 or Ca(V)1.2 alpha(1) proteins but decreased plasma membrane expression of each subunit, which reduced myogenic tone.alpha(2)delta-1 is essential for plasma membrane expression of arterial myocyte Ca(V)1.2 alpha(1) subunits. alpha(2)delta-1 targeting can block Ca(V)1.2 channels directly and inhibit surface expression of Ca(V)1.2 alpha(1) subunits, leading to vasodilation. These data identify alpha(2)delta-1 as a novel molecular target in arterial myocytes, the manipulation of which regulates contractility.
Project description:Synaptogenesis involves the transformation of a growth cone into synaptic boutons specialized for transmitter release. In Drosophila embryos lacking the alpha(2)delta-3 subunit of presynaptic, voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels, we found that motor neuron terminals failed to develop synaptic boutons and cytoskeletal abnormalities arose, including the loss of ankyrin2. Nevertheless, functional presynaptic specializations were present and apposed to clusters of postsynaptic glutamate receptors. The alpha(2)delta-3 protein has been thought to function strictly as an auxiliary subunit of the Ca(2+) channel, but the phenotype of alpha(2)delta-3 (also known as stj) mutations cannot be explained by a channel defect; embryos lacking the pore-forming alpha(1) subunit cacophony formed boutons. The synaptogenic function of alpha(2)delta-3 required only the alpha(2) peptide, whose expression sufficed to rescue bouton formation. Our results indicate that alpha(2)delta proteins have functions that are independent of their roles in the biophysics and localization of Ca(2+) channels and that synaptic architecture depends on these functions.
Project description:Large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels are composed of the pore-forming alpha-subunit and the auxiliary beta-subunits. The beta4-subunit is dominantly expressed in the mammalian central nervous system. To understand the physiological roles of the beta4-subunit on the BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit (Slo), we isolated a full-length complementary DNA of rat beta4-subunit (rbeta4), expressed heterolgously in Xenopus oocytes, and investigated the detailed functional effects using electrophysiological means. When expressed together with rat Slo (rSlo), rbeta4 profoundly altered the gating characteristics of the Slo channel. At a given concentration of intracellular Ca(2+), rSlo/rbeta4 channels were more sensitive to transmembrane voltage changes. The activation and deactivation rates of macroscopic currents were decreased in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. The channel activation by Ca(2+) became more cooperative by the coexpression of rbeta4. Single-channel recordings showed that the increased Hill coefficient for Ca(2+) was due to the changes in the open probability of the rSlo/rbeta4 channel. Single BK(Ca) channels composed of rSlo and rbeta4 also exhibited slower kinetics for steady-state gating compared with rSlo channels. Dwell times of both open and closed events were significantly increased. Because BK(Ca) channels are known to modulate neuroexcitability and the expression of the beta4-subunit is highly concentrated in certain subregions of brain, the electrophysiological properties of individual neurons should be affected profoundly by the expression of this second subunit.
Project description:The Ca(2+) channel alpha(1S) subunit (Ca(V)1.1) is the voltage sensor in skeletal muscle excitation-contraction (EC) coupling. Upon membrane depolarization, this sensor rapidly triggers Ca(2+) release from internal stores and conducts a slowly activating Ca(2+) current. However, this Ca(2+) current is not essential for skeletal muscle EC coupling. Here, we identified a Ca(V)1.1 splice variant with greatly distinct current properties. The variant of the CACNA1S gene lacking exon 29 was expressed at low levels in differentiated human and mouse muscle, and up to 80% in myotubes. To test its biophysical properties, we deleted exon 29 in a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged alpha(1S) subunit and expressed it in dysgenic (alpha(1S)-null) myotubes. GFP-alpha(1S)Delta 29 was correctly targeted into triads and supported skeletal muscle EC coupling. However, the Ca(2+) currents through GFP-alpha(1S)Delta 29 showed a 30-mV left-shifted voltage dependence of activation and a substantially increased open probability, giving rise to an eightfold increased current density. This robust Ca(2+) influx contributed substantially to the depolarization-induced Ca(2+) transient that triggers contraction. Moreover, deletion of exon 29 accelerated current kinetics independent of the auxiliary alpha(2)delta-1 subunit. Thus, characterizing the Ca(V)1.1 Delta 29 splice variant revealed the structural bases underlying the specific gating properties of skeletal muscle Ca(2+) channels, and it suggests the existence of a distinct mode of EC coupling in developing muscle.
Project description:Voltage-gated calcium channels are thought to exist in the plasma membrane as heteromeric proteins, in which the alpha1 subunit is associated with two auxiliary subunits, the intracellular beta subunit and the alpha(2)delta subunit; both of these subunits influence the trafficking and properties of Ca(V)1 and Ca(V)2 channels. The alpha(2)delta subunits have been described as type I transmembrane proteins, because they have an N-terminal signal peptide and a C-terminal hydrophobic and potentially transmembrane region. However, because they have very short C-terminal cytoplasmic domains, we hypothesized that the alpha(2)delta proteins might be associated with the plasma membrane through a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor attached to delta rather than a transmembrane domain. Here, we provide biochemical, immunocytochemical, and mutational evidence to show that all of the alpha(2)delta subunits studied, alpha(2)delta-1, alpha(2)delta-2, and alpha(2)delta-3, show all of the properties expected of GPI-anchored proteins, both when heterologously expressed and in native tissues. They are substrates for prokaryotic phosphatidylinositol-phospholipase C (PI-PLC) and trypanosomal GPI-PLC, which release the alpha(2)delta proteins from membranes and intact cells and expose a cross-reacting determinant epitope. PI-PLC does not affect control transmembrane or membrane-associated proteins. Furthermore, mutation of the predicted GPI-anchor sites markedly reduced plasma membrane and detergent-resistant membrane localization of alpha(2)delta subunits. We also show that GPI anchoring of alpha(2)delta subunits is necessary for their function to enhance calcium currents, and PI-PLC treatment only reduces calcium current density when alpha(2)delta subunits are coexpressed. In conclusion, this study redefines our understanding of alpha(2)delta subunits, both in terms of their role in calcium-channel function and other roles in synaptogenesis.
Project description:By mediating depolarization-induced Ca(2+) influx, high-voltage-activated Ca(2+) channels control a variety of cellular events. These heteromultimeric proteins are composed of an ion-conducting (alpha(1)) and three auxiliary (alpha(2)delta, beta and gamma) subunits. The alpha(2)delta subunit enhances the trafficking of the channel complex to the cell surface and increases channel open probability. To exert these effects, alpha(2)delta must undergo important post-translational modifications, including a proteolytic cleavage that separates the extracellular alpha(2) from its transmembrane delta domain. After this proteolysis both domains remain linked by disulfide bonds. In spite of its central role in determining the final conformation of the fully mature alpha(2)delta, almost nothing is known about the physiological implications of this structural modification. In the current report, by using site-directed mutagenesis, the proteolytic site of alpha(2)delta was mapped to amino acid residues Arg-941 and Val-946. Substitution of these residues renders the protein insensitive to proteolytic cleavage as evidenced by the lack of molecular weight shift upon treatment with a disulfide-reducing agent. Interestingly, these mutations significantly decreased whole-cell patch-clamp currents without affecting the voltage dependence or kinetics of the channels, suggesting a reduction in the number of channels targeted to the plasma membrane.
Project description:The mechanism of action of the antiepileptic and antinociceptive drugs of the gabapentinoid family has remained poorly understood. Gabapentin (GBP) binds to an exofacial epitope of the alpha(2)delta-1 and alpha(2)delta-2 auxiliary subunits of voltage-gated calcium channels, but acute inhibition of calcium currents by GBP is either very minor or absent. We formulated the hypothesis that GBP impairs the ability of alpha(2)delta subunits to enhance voltage-gated Ca(2+)channel plasma membrane density by means of an effect on trafficking. Our results conclusively demonstrate that GBP inhibits calcium currents, mimicking a lack of alpha(2)delta only when applied chronically, but not acutely, both in heterologous expression systems and in dorsal root-ganglion neurons. GBP acts primarily at an intracellular location, requiring uptake, because the effect of chronically applied GBP is blocked by an inhibitor of the system-L neutral amino acid transporters and enhanced by coexpression of a transporter. However, it is mediated by alpha(2)delta subunits, being prevented by mutations in either alpha(2)delta-1 or alpha(2)delta-2 that abolish GBP binding, and is not observed for alpha(2)delta-3, which does not bind GBP. Furthermore, the trafficking of alpha(2)delta-2 and Ca(V)2 channels is disrupted both by GBP and by the mutation in alpha(2)delta-2, which prevents GBP binding, and we find that GBP reduces cell-surface expression of alpha(2)delta-2 and Ca(V)2.1 subunits. Our evidence indicates that GBP may act chronically by displacing an endogenous ligand that is normally a positive modulator of alpha(2)delta subunit function, thereby impairing the trafficking function of the alpha(2)delta subunits to which it binds.
Project description:The importance and diversity of calcium signaling in the brain is mirrored by the expression of a multitude of voltage-activated calcium channel (Ca(V)) isoforms. Whereas the overall distributions of alpha(1) subunits are well established, the expression patterns of distinct channel isoforms in specific brain regions and neurons, as well as those of the auxiliary beta and alpha(2)delta subunits are still incompletely characterized. Further it is unknown whether neuronal differentiation and activity induce changes of Ca(V) subunit composition. Here we combined absolute and relative quantitative TaqMan reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) to analyze mRNA expression of all high voltage-activated Ca(V) alpha(1) subunits and all beta and alpha(2)delta subunits. This allowed for the first time the direct comparison of complete Ca(V) expression profiles of mouse cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, and cultured hippocampal neurons. All brain regions expressed characteristic profiles of the full set of isoforms, except Ca(V)1.1 and Ca(V)1.4. In cortex development was accompanied by a general down regulation of alpha(1) and alpha(2)delta subunits and a shift from beta(1)/beta(3) to beta(2)/beta(4). The most abundant Ca(V) isoforms in cerebellum were Ca(V)2.1, beta(4), and alpha(2)delta-2, and in hippocampus Ca(V)2.3, beta(2), and alpha(2)delta-1. Interestingly, cultured hippocampal neurons also expressed the same Ca(V) complement as adult hippocampus. During differentiation specific Ca(V) isoforms experienced up- or down-regulation; however blocking electrical activity did not affect Ca(V) expression patterns. Correlation analysis of alpha(1), beta and alpha(2)delta subunit expression throughout all examined preparations revealed a strong preference of Ca(V)2.1 for beta(4) and alpha(2)delta-2 and vice versa, whereas the other alpha(1) isoforms were non-selectively expressed together with each of the other beta and alpha(2)delta isoforms. Together our results revealed a remarkably stable overall Ca(2+) channel complement as well as tissue specific differences in expression levels. Developmental changes are likely determined by an intrinsic program and not regulated by changes in neuronal activity.
Project description:Voltage-dependent L-type Ca(2+) (Ca(V)1.2) channels are the principal Ca(2+) entry pathway in arterial myocytes. Ca(V)1.2 channels regulate multiple vascular functions and are implicated in the pathogenesis of human disease, including hypertension. However, the molecular identity of Ca(V)1.2 channels expressed in myocytes of myogenic arteries that regulate vascular pressure and blood flow is unknown. Here, we cloned Ca(V)1.2 subunits from resistance size cerebral arteries and demonstrate that myocytes contain a novel, cysteine rich N terminus that is derived from exon 1 (termed "exon 1c"), which is located within CACNA1C, the Ca(V)1.2 gene. Quantitative PCR revealed that exon 1c was predominant in arterial myocytes, but rare in cardiac myocytes, where exon 1a prevailed. When co-expressed with alpha(2)delta subunits, Ca(V)1.2 channels containing the novel exon 1c-derived N terminus exhibited: 1) smaller whole cell current density, 2) more negative voltages of half activation (V(1/2,act)) and half-inactivation (V(1/2,inact)), and 3) reduced plasma membrane insertion, when compared with channels containing exon 1b. beta(1b) and beta(2a) subunits caused negative shifts in the V(1/2,act) and V(1/2,inact) of exon 1b-containing Ca(V)1.2alpha(1)/alpha(2)delta currents that were larger than those in exon 1c-containing Ca(V)1.2alpha(1)/alpha(2)delta currents. In contrast, beta(3) similarly shifted V(1/2,act) and V(1/2,inact) of currents generated by exon 1b- and exon 1c-containing channels. beta subunits isoform-dependent differences in current inactivation rates were also detected between N-terminal variants. Data indicate that through novel alternative splicing at exon 1, the Ca(V)1.2 N terminus modifies regulation by auxiliary subunits. The novel exon 1c should generate distinct voltage-dependent Ca(2+) entry in arterial myocytes, resulting in tissue-specific Ca(2+) signaling.