Protein expression pattern in cerebellum of Cav2.1 mutant, tottering-6j mice.
ABSTRACT: Neuronal voltage-gated Cav2.1 channel controls a broad array of functions, including neurotransmitter release, neuronal excitability, activity-dependent gene expression, and neuronal survival. The Cav2.1 channel is molecular complexes consisting of several subunits: ?1, ?2/?, ?, and ?. The pore-forming subunit, ?1, is encoded by the Cacna1a gene. Tottering-6j mice, generated by the Neuroscience Mutagenesis Facility at The Jackson Laboratory, are a recessive mutant strain in which the mutation has been chemically induced by ethylnitrosourea. In tottering-6j mice, mutation in the Cacna1a gene results in a base substitution (C-to-A) in the consensus splice acceptor sequence, which results in deletion of a part of the S4-S5 linker, S5, and a part of S5-S6 linker domain I in the ?1 subunit of Cav2.1 channel. The mice display motor dysfunctions and absence-like seizures. However, protein expression in the cerebellum of tottering-6j mice has not been investigated. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and histological analyses of the cerebellum of tottering-6j mice revealed high expression levels of tyrosine hydroxylase, zebrin II, and ryanodine receptor 3 compared with those of wild-type mice. Conversely, a low level of calretinin expression was found compared with wild-type mice. These results indicate that Cacna1a mutation plays a significant role in protein expression patterns and that the tottering-6j mouse is a useful model for understanding protein expression mechanisms.
Project description:Voltage-gated Ca(2+) (Ca(v)) channels control neuronal functions including neurotransmitter release and gene expression. The Cacna1a gene encodes the ?1 subunit of the pore-forming Ca(v)2.1 channel. Mice with mutations in this gene form useful tools for defining channel functions. The recessive ataxic tottering-6j strain that was generated in the Neuroscience Mutagenesis Facility at The Jackson Laboratory has a mutation in the Cacna1a gene. However, the effect of this mutation has not been investigated in detail. In this study, mutation analysis shows a base substitution (C-to-A) in the consensus splice acceptor sequence linked to exon 5, which results in the skipping of exon 5 and the splicing of exon 4 directly to exon 6. The effect of this mutation is expected to be severe as the expressed ?1 subunit protein lacks a significant part of the S4-S5 linker, S5, and part of S5-S6 linker in domain I. Tottering-6j mice display motor dysfunctions in the footprint, rotating rod, and hind-limb extension tests. Although cytoarchitecture of the mutant brains appears normal, tyrosine hydroxylase was persistently expressed in cerebellar Purkinje cells in the adult mutant mice. These results indicate that tottering-6j is a useful model for functional studies of the Ca(v)2.1 channel.
Project description:Ataxic rolling Nagoya (PROD-rol/rol) mice, which carry a mutation in the ?1 subunit of the Cav2.1 channel (Cacna1a) gene, were discovered in 1969. They show white spots on agouti coat and have a mutation in the piebald spotting (s) locus. However, mutation analysis of the s locus encoding the endothelin receptor type B (Ednrb) gene in PROD-rol/rol mice had not been performed. Here, we examined the genomic and mRNA sequences of the Ednrb gene in PROD-rol/rol and wild-type rolling Nagoya (PROD-s/s) and studied the expression patterns of Ednrb and Cacna1a genes in these mice in comparison with C57BL/6J mice. Polymerase chain reaction analyses revealed two silent nucleotide substitutions in the coding region and insertion of a retroposon-like element in intron 1 of the Ednrb gene. Expression analyses demonstrated similar localizations and levels of Ednrb and Cacna1a expression in the colon between PROD-rol/rol and PROD-s/s mice, but the expression levels of both genes were diminished compared with C57BL/6J mice. Microsatellite genotyping showed that at least particular regions of chromosome 14 proximal to the Ednrb locus of the PROD strain were derived from Japanese fancy piebald mice. These results indicated that PROD-rol/rol mice have two mutant genes, Ednrb and Cacna1a. As no PROD strain had an intact Ednrb gene, using congenic rolling mice would better serve to examine rolling Nagoya-type Cav2.1 channel dysfunctions.
Project description:Spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) is an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disorder that is caused by a CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion in the CACNA1A gene. As one of the few bicistronic genes discovered in the human genome, CACNA1A encodes not only the ?1A subunit of the P/Q type voltage-gated Ca2+ channel CaV2.1 but also the ?1ACT protein, a 75?kDa transcription factor sharing the sequence of the cytoplasmic C-terminal tail of the ?1A subunit. Isoforms of both proteins contain the polyglutamine (polyQ) domain that is expanded in SCA6 patients. Although certain SCA6 phenotypes appear to be specific for Purkinje neurons, other pathogenic effects of the SCA6 polyQ mutation can affect a broad spectrum of central nervous system (CNS) neuronal subtypes. We investigated the expression and function of CACNA1A gene products in human neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells from two SCA6 patients. Expression levels of CACNA1A encoding ?1A subunit were similar between SCA6 and control neurons, and no differences were found in the subcellular distribution of CaV2.1 channel protein. The ?1ACT immunoreactivity was detected in the majority of cell nuclei of SCA6 and control neurons. Although no SCA6 genotype-dependent differences in CaV2.1 channel function were observed, they were found in the expression levels of the ?1ACT target gene Granulin (GRN) and in glutamate-induced cell vulnerability.
Project description:Ataxia is the predominant clinical manifestation of cerebellar dysfunction. Mutations in the human CACNA1A gene, encoding the pore-forming ?1 subunit of CaV2.1 (P/Q-type) calcium channels, underlie several neurological disorders, including Episodic Ataxia type 2 and Familial Hemiplegic Migraine type 1 (FHM1). Several mouse mutants exist that harbor mutations in the orthologous Cacna1a gene. The spontaneous Cacna1a mutants Rolling Nagoya (tg(rol)), Tottering (tg) and Leaner (tg(ln)) mice exhibit behavioral motor phenotypes, including ataxia. Transgenic knock-in (KI) mouse strains with the human FHM1 R192Q and S218L missense mutations have been generated. R192Q KI mice are non-ataxic, whereas S218L KI mice display a complex behavioral phenotype that includes cerebellar ataxia. Given the dependence of ?-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor subunit functioning on localized calcium currents, and the functional link between GABAergic inhibition and ataxia, we hypothesized that cerebellar GABAA receptor expression is differentially affected in Cacna1a mutants and contributes to the ataxic phenotype. Herein we quantified functional GABAA receptors and pharmacologically dissociated cerebellar GABAA receptors in several Cacna1a mutants. We did not identify differences in the expression of GABAA receptor subunits or in the number of functional GABAA receptors in the non-ataxic R192Q KI strain. In contrast, tg(rol) mice had a ?15% decrease in the number of functional GABAA receptors, whereas S218L KI mice showed a ?29% increase. Our data suggest that differential changes in cerebellar GABAA receptor expression profile may contribute to the neurological phenotype of cerebellar ataxia and that targeting GABAA receptors might represent a feasible complementary strategy to treat cerebellar ataxia.
Project description:The P/Q-type CaV2.1 channel regulates neurotransmitter release at neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) and many central synapses. CACNA1A encodes the pore-containing ?1A subunit of CaV2.1 channels. In humans, de novo CACNA1A mutations result in a wide spectrum of neurological, neuromuscular, and movement disorders, such as familial hemiplegic migraine type 1 (FHM1), episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2), as well as a more recently discovered class of more severe disorders, which are characterized by ataxia, hypotonia, cerebellar atrophy, and cognitive/developmental delay. Heterologous expression of CaV2.1 channels has allowed for an understanding of the consequences of CACNA1A missense mutations on channel function. In contrast, a mechanistic understanding of how specific CACNA1A mutations lead in vivo to the resultant phenotypes is lacking. In this review, we present the zebrafish as a model to both study in vivo mechanisms of CACNA1A mutations that result in synaptic and behavioral defects and to screen for effective drug therapies to combat these and other CaV2.1 channelopathies.
Project description:Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 6 (SCA6) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease characterized by late onset, slowly progressive, mostly pure cerebellar ataxia. It is one of three allelic disorders associated to CACNA1A gene, coding for the Alpha1 A subunit of P/Q type calcium channel Cav2.1 expressed in the brain, particularly in the cerebellum. The other two disorders are Episodic Ataxia type 2 (EA2), and Familial Hemiplegic Migraine type 1 (FHM1). These disorders show distinct phenotypes that often overlap but have different pathogenic mechanisms. EA2 and FHM1 are due to mutations causing, respectively, a loss and a gain of channel function. SCA6, instead, is associated with short expansions of a polyglutamine stretch located in the cytoplasmic C-terminal tail of the protein. This domain has a relevant role in channel regulation, as well as in transcription regulation of other neuronal genes; thus the SCA6 CAG repeat expansion results in complex pathogenic molecular mechanisms reflecting the complex Cav2.1 C-terminus activity. We will provide a short review for an update on the SCA6 molecular mechanism.
Project description:Ion channel dysfunction causes a range of neurological disorders by altering transmembrane ion fluxes, neuronal or muscle excitability, and neurotransmitter release. Genetic neuronal channelopathies affecting peripheral axons provide a unique opportunity to examine the impact of dysfunction of a single channel subtype in detail in vivo. Episodic ataxia type 2 is caused by mutations in CACNA1A, which encodes the pore-forming subunit of the neuronal voltage-gated calcium channel Cav2.1. In peripheral motor axons, this channel is highly expressed at the presynaptic neuromuscular junction where it contributes to action potential-evoked neurotransmitter release, but it is not expressed mid-axon or thought to contribute to action potential generation. Eight patients from five families with genetically confirmed episodic ataxia type 2 underwent neurophysiological assessment to determine whether axonal excitability was normal and, if not, whether changes could be explained by Cav2.1 dysfunction. New mutations in the CACNA1A gene were identified in two families. Nerve conduction studies were normal, but increased jitter in single-fibre EMG studies indicated unstable neuromuscular transmission in two patients. Excitability properties of median motor axons were compared with those in 30 age-matched healthy control subjects. All patients had similar excitability abnormalities, including a high electrical threshold and increased responses to hyperpolarizing (P < 0.00007) and depolarizing currents (P < 0.001) in threshold electrotonus. In the recovery cycle, refractoriness (P < 0.0002) and superexcitability (P < 0.006) were increased. Cav2.1 dysfunction in episodic ataxia type 2 thus has unexpected effects on axon excitability, which may reflect an indirect effect of abnormal calcium current fluxes during development.
Project description:Stroke-like episodes (SLE) occur in phosphomannomutase deficiency (PMM2-CDG), and may complicate the course of channelopathies related to Familial Hemiplegic Migraine (FHM) caused by mutations in CACNA1A (encoding CaV2.1 channel). The underlying pathomechanisms are unknown. We analyze clinical variables to detect risk factors for SLE in a series of 43 PMM2-CDG patients. We explore the hypothesis of abnormal CaV2.1 function due to aberrant N-glycosylation as a potential novel pathomechanism of SLE and ataxia in PMM2-CDG by using whole-cell patch-clamp, N-glycosylation blockade and mutagenesis. Nine SLE were identified. Neuroimages showed no signs of stroke. Comparison of characteristics between SLE positive versus negative patients' group showed no differences. Acute and chronic phenotypes of patients with PMM2-CDG or CACNA1A channelopathies show similarities. Hypoglycosylation of both CaV2.1 subunits (?1A and ?2?) induced gain-of-function effects on channel gating that mirrored those reported for pathogenic CACNA1A mutations linked to FHM and ataxia. Unoccupied N-glycosylation site N283 at ?1A contributes to a gain-of-function by lessening CaV2.1 inactivation. Hypoglycosylation of the ??? subunit also participates in the gain-of-function effect by promoting voltage-dependent opening of the CaV2.1 channel. CaV2.1 hypoglycosylation may cause ataxia and SLEs in PMM2-CDG patients. Aberrant CaV2.1 N-glycosylation as a novel pathomechanism in PMM2-CDG opens new therapeutic possibilities.
Project description:Postnatal cerebellar development is a precisely regulated process involving well-orchestrated expression of neural genes. Neurological phenotypes associated with CACNA1A gene defects have been increasingly recognized, yet the molecular principles underlying this association remain elusive. By characterizing a dose-dependent CACNA1A gene deficiency mouse model, we discovered that ?1ACT, as a transcription factor and secondary protein of CACNA1A mRNA, drives dynamic gene expression networks within cerebellar Purkinje cells and is indispensable for neonatal survival. Perinatal loss of ?1ACT leads to motor dysfunction through disruption of neurogenesis and synaptic regulatory networks. However, its elimination in adulthood has minimal effect on the cerebellum. These findings shed light on the critical role of ?1ACT in facilitating neuronal development in both mice and humans and support a rationale for gene therapies for calcium-channel-associated cerebellar disorders. Finally, we show that bicistronic expression may be common to the voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) gene family and may help explain complex genetic syndromes.
Project description:Inherited loss of P/Q-type calcium channel function causes human absence epilepsy, episodic dyskinesia, and ataxia, but the molecular "birthdate" of the neurological syndrome and its dependence on prenatal pathophysiology is unknown. Since these channels mediate transmitter release at synapses throughout the brain and are expressed early in embryonic development, delineating the critical circuitry and onset underlying each of the emergent phenotypes requires targeted control of gene expression. To visualize P/Q-type Ca(2+) channels and dissect their role in neuronal networks at distinct developmental stages, we created a novel conditional Cacna1a knock-in mouse by inserting the floxed green fluorescent protein derivative Citrine into the first exon of Cacna1a and then crossed it with a postnatally expressing PCP2-Cre line for delayed Purkinje cell (PC) gene deletion within the cerebellum and sparsely in forebrain (purky). PCs in purky mice lacked P/Q-type calcium channel protein and currents within the first month after birth, displayed altered spontaneous firing, and showed impaired neurotransmission. Unexpectedly, adult purky mice exhibited the full spectrum of neurological deficits seen in mice with genomic Cacna1a ablation. Our results show that the ataxia, dyskinesia, and absence epilepsy caused by inherited disorders of the P/Q-type channel arise from signaling defects beginning in late infancy, revealing an early window of opportunity for therapeutic intervention.