N-cadherin modulates voltage activated calcium influx via RhoA, p120-catenin, and myosin-actin interaction.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, 66160, USA.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.73). 03/2009; 40(3):390-400. DOI: 10.1016/j.mcn.2008.12.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT N-cadherin is a transmembrane adhesion receptor that contributes to neuronal development and synapse formation through homophilic interactions that provide structural-adhesive support to contacts between cell membranes. In addition, N-cadherin homotypic binding may initiate cell signaling that regulates neuronal physiology. In this study, we investigated signaling capabilities of N-cadherin that control voltage activated calcium influx. Using whole-cell voltage clamp recording of isolated inward calcium currents in freshly isolated chick ciliary ganglion neurons we show that the juxtamembrane region of N-cadherin cytoplasmic domain regulates high-threshold voltage activated calcium currents by interacting with p120-catenin and activating RhoA. This regulatory mechanism requires myosin interaction with actin. Furthermore, N-cadherin homophilic binding enhanced voltage activated calcium current amplitude in dissociated neurons that have already developed mature synaptic contacts in vivo. The increase in calcium current amplitude was not affected by brefeldin A suggesting that the effect is caused via direct channel modulation and not by increasing channel expression. In contrast, homotypic N-cadherin interaction failed to regulate calcium influx in freshly isolated immature neurons. However, RhoA inhibitors enhanced calcium current amplitude in these immature neurons, suggesting that the inhibitory effect of RhoA on calcium entry is regulated during neuronal development and synapse maturation. These results indicate that N-cadherin modulates voltage activated calcium entry by a mechanism that involves RhoA activity and its downstream effects on the cytoskeleton, and suggest that N-cadherin provides support for synaptic maturation and sustained synaptic activity by facilitating voltage activated calcium influx.

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