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The CACNA1F gene encodes an L-type calcium channel with unique biophysical properties and tissue distribution.

John E McRory, Jawed Hamid, Clinton J Doering, Esperanza Garcia, Robin Parker, Kevin Hamming, Lina Chen, Michael Hildebrand, Aaron M Beedle, Laura Feldcamp, Gerald W Zamponi, Terrance P Snutch

J. Neurosci., 2004 Feb 18 , 24, 1707-18

Glutamate release from rod photoreceptors is dependent on a sustained calcium influx through L-type calcium channels. Missense mutations in the CACNA1F gene in patients with incomplete X-linked congenital stationary night blindness implicate the Ca(v)1.4 calcium channel subtype. Here, we describe the functional and pharmacological properties of transiently expressed human Ca(v)1.4 calcium channels. Ca(v)1.4 is shown to encode a dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channel with unusually slow inactivation kinetics that are not affected by either calcium ions or by coexpression of ancillary calcium channel beta subunits. Additionally, the channel supports a large window current and activates near -40 mV in 2 mM external calcium, making Ca(v)1.4 ideally suited for tonic calcium influx at typical photoreceptor resting potentials. Introduction of base pair changes associated with four incomplete X-linked congenital night blindness mutations showed that only the G369D alteration affected channel activation properties. Immunohistochemical analyses show that, in contrast with previous reports, Ca(v)1.4 is widely distributed outside the retina, including in the immune system, thus suggesting a broader role in human physiology.