[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Voltage-gated calcium channels mediate excitationcontraction coupling in the skeletal muscle. Their molecular composition, similar to neuronal channels, includes the pore-forming alpha(1) and auxiliary alpha(2)delta, beta, and gamma subunits. The gamma subunits are the least characterized, and their subunit interactions are unclear. The physiological importance of the neuronal gamma is emphasized by epileptic stargazer mice that lack gamma(2). In this study, we examined the molecular basis of interaction between skeletal gamma(1) and the calcium channel. Our data show that the alpha(1)1.1, beta(1a), and alpha(2)delta subunits are still associated in gamma(1) null mice. Reexpression of gamma(1) and gamma(2) showed that gamma(1), but not gamma(2), incorporates into gamma(1) null channels. By using chimeric constructs, we demonstrate that the first half of the gamma(1) subunit, including the first two transmembrane domains, is important for subunit interaction. Interestingly, this chimera also restores calcium conductance in gamma(1) null myotubes, indicating that the domain mediates both subunit interaction and current modulation. To determine the subunit of the channel that interacts with gamma(1), we examined the channel in muscular dysgenesis mice. Cosedimentation experiments showed that gamma(1) and alpha(2)delta are not associated. Moreover, alpha(1)1.1 and gamma(1) subunits form a complex in transiently transfected cells, indicating direct interaction between the gamma(1) and alpha(1)1.1 subunits. Our data demonstrate that the first half of gamma(1) subunit is required for association with the channel through alpha(1)1.1. Because subunit interactions are conserved, these studies have broad implications for gamma heterogeneity, function and subunit association with voltage-gated calcium channels.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2003; 278(2):1212-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We characterized the neuronal two-domain (95kD-alpha(1)2.1) form of the alpha(1)2.1 subunit of the voltage-gated calcium channels using genetic and molecular analysis. The 95kD-alpha(1)2.1 is absent in neuronal preparations from CACNA1A null mouse demonstrating that alpha(1)2.1 and 95kD-alpha(1)2.1 arise from the same gene. A recombinant two-domain form (alpha(1AI-II)) of alpha(1)2.1 associates with the beta subunit and is trafficked to the plasma membrane. Translocation of the alpha(1AI-II) to the plasma membrane requires association with the beta subunit, since a mutation in the alpha(1AI-II) that inhibits beta subunit association reduces membrane trafficking. Though the alpha(1AI-II) protein does not conduct any voltage-gated currents, we have previously shown that it generates a high density of non-linear charge movements [Ahern et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98 (2001) 6935-6940]. In this study, we demonstrate that co-expression of the alpha(1AI-II) significantly reduces the current amplitude of alpha(1)2.1/beta(1a)/alpha(2)delta channels, via competition for the beta subunit. Taken together, our results demonstrate a dual functional role for the alpha(1AI-II) protein, both as a voltage sensor and modulator of P/Q-type currents in recombinant systems. These studies suggest an in vivo role for the 95kD-alpha(1)2.1 in altering synaptic activity via protein-protein interactions and/or regulation of P/Q-type currents.