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Cav3.2 subunit underlies the functional T-type Ca2+ channel in murine hearts during the embryonic period.

Noriko Niwa, Kenji Yasui, Tobias Opthof, Haruki Takemura, Atsuya Shimizu, Mitsuru Horiba, Jong-Kook Lee, Haruo Honjo, Kaichiro Kamiya, Itsuo Kodama

Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol., 2004 Jun , 286, H2257-63

T-type Ca2+ channels are implicated in cardiac automaticity, cell growth, and cardiovascular remodeling. Two voltage-gated Ca2+ subtypes (Ca(v)3.1 and Ca(v)3.2) have been cloned for the pore-forming alpha(1)-subunit of the T-type Ca2+ channel in cardiac muscle, but their differential roles remain to be clarified. The aim of this study was to elucidate the relative contribution of the two subtypes in the normal development of mouse hearts. A whole cell patch clamp was used to record ionic currents from ventricular myocytes isolated from mice of early (E9.5) and late embryonic days (E18) and from adult 10-wk-old mice. Large T-type Ca2+ current (I(Ca,T)) was observed at both E9.5 and E18, displaying similar voltage-dependence and kinetics of activation and inactivation. The current was inhibited by Ni2+ at relatively low concentrations (IC(50) 26-31 microM). I(Ca,T) was undetectable in adult myocytes. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed that Ca(v)3.2 mRNA is the predominant subtype encoding T-type Ca2+ channels at both E9.5 and E18. Ca(v)3.1 mRNA increased from E9.5 to E18, but remained low compared with Ca(v)3.2 mRNA during the whole embryonic period. In the adulthood, in contrast, Ca(v)3.1 mRNA is greater than Ca(v)3.2 mRNA. These results indicate that Ca(v)3.2 underlies the functional T-type Ca2+ channels in the embryonic murine heart, and there is a subtype switching of transcripts from Ca(v)3.2 to Ca(v)3.1 in the perinatal period.