Modulation of high voltage-activated calcium channels by phosphorylation

James Liberal Costantin, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


High voltage-activated (HVA) calcium channels from rat brain and rabbit heart are expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and their modulation by protein kinases studied. A subtype of the HVA calcium current expressed by rat brain RNA is potentiated by the phospholipid- and calcium-dependent protein kinase (PKC). The calcium channel clone $\alpha\sb{\rm1C}$ from rabbit heart is modulated by the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), and another factor present in the cytoplasm. The HVA calcium channels from rat brain do not belong to the L-type subclass since they are insensensitive to dihydropyridine (DHP) agonists and antagonists. The expressed currents do contain a N-type fraction which is identified by inactivation at depolarized potentials, and a P-type fraction as defined by blockade by the venom of the funnel web spider Agelenopsis Aperta. A non N-type fraction of this current is potentiated, by using phorbol esters to activate PKC. This residual fraction of current resembles the newly described Q-type channel from cerebellar granule cells in its biophysical properties, and potentiation by activation of PKC. The $\alpha\sb{\rm1C}$ clone from rabbit heart is expressed in oocytes and single-channel currents are measured using the cell-attached and cell-excised patch clamp technique. The single-channel current runs down within two minutes after patch excision into normal saline bath solution. The catalytic subunit of PKA + MgATP is capable of reversing this rundown for over 15 minutes. There also appears to be an additional factor present in the cytoplasm necessary for channel activity as revealed in experiments where PKA failed to prevent rundown. These data are important in that these types of channels are involved in synaptic transmission at many different types of synapses. The mammalian synapse is not accessible for these types of studies, however, the oocyte expression system allows access to HVA calcium channels for the study of their modulation by phosphorylation.

Subject Area

Neurology|Anatomy & physiology|Animals

Recommended Citation

Costantin, James Liberal, "Modulation of high voltage-activated calcium channels by phosphorylation" (1994). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9520974.