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Overexpressed Ca(v)beta3 inhibits N-type (Cav2.2) calcium channel currents through a hyperpolarizing shift of ultra-slow and closed-state inactivation.

Takahiro Yasuda, Richard J Lewis, David J Adams

J. Gen. Physiol., 2004 Apr , 123, 401-16

It has been shown that beta auxiliary subunits increase current amplitude in voltage-dependent calcium channels. In this study, however, we found a novel inhibitory effect of beta3 subunit on macroscopic Ba(2+) currents through recombinant N- and R-type calcium channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Overexpressed beta3 (12.5 ng/cell cRNA) significantly suppressed N- and R-type, but not L-type, calcium channel currents at "physiological" holding potentials (HPs) of -60 and -80 mV. At a HP of -80 mV, coinjection of various concentrations (0-12.5 ng) of the beta3 with Ca(v)2.2alpha(1) and alpha(2)delta enhanced the maximum conductance of expressed channels at lower beta3 concentrations but at higher concentrations (>2.5 ng/cell) caused a marked inhibition. The beta3-induced current suppression was reversed at a HP of -120 mV, suggesting that the inhibition was voltage dependent. A high concentration of Ba(2+) (40 mM) as a charge carrier also largely diminished the effect of beta3 at -80 mV. Therefore, experimental conditions (HP, divalent cation concentration, and beta3 subunit concentration) approaching normal physiological conditions were critical to elucidate the full extent of this novel beta3 effect. Steady-state inactivation curves revealed that N-type channels exhibited "closed-state" inactivation without beta3, and that beta3 caused an approximately 40-mV negative shift of the inactivation, producing a second component with an inactivation midpoint of approximately -85 mV. The inactivation of N-type channels in the presence of a high concentration (12.5 ng/cell) of beta3 developed slowly and the time-dependent inactivation curve was best fit by the sum of two exponential functions with time constants of 14 s and 8.8 min at -80 mV. Similar "ultra-slow" inactivation was observed for N-type channels without beta3. Thus, beta3 can have a profound negative regulatory effect on N-type (and also R-type) calcium channels by causing a hyperpolarizing shift of the inactivation without affecting "ultra-slow" and "closed-state" inactivation properties.