PubMed 24453333

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Cav2.1

Title: Differential neuronal targeting of a new and two known calcium channel β4 subunit splice variants correlates with their regulation of gene expression.

Authors: Solmaz Etemad, Gerald J Obermair, Daniel Bindreither, Ariane Benedetti, Ruslan Stanika, Valentina Di Biase, Verena Burtscher, Alexandra Koschak, Reinhard Kofler, Stephan Geley, Alexandra Wille, Alexandra Lusser, Veit Flockerzi, Bernhard E Flucher

Journal, date & volume: J. Neurosci., 2014 Jan 22 , 34, 1446-61

PubMed link:

The β subunits of voltage-gated calcium channels regulate surface expression and gating of CaV1 and CaV2 α1 subunits and thus contribute to neuronal excitability, neurotransmitter release, and calcium-induced gene regulation. In addition, certain β subunits are targeted into the nucleus, where they interact directly with the epigenetic machinery. Whereas their involvement in this multitude of functions is reflected by a great molecular heterogeneity of β isoforms derived from four genes and abundant alternative splicing, little is known about the roles of individual β variants in specific neuronal functions. In the present study, an alternatively spliced β4 subunit lacking the variable N terminus (β4e) is identified. It is highly expressed in mouse cerebellum and cultured cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) and modulates P/Q-type calcium currents in tsA201 cells and CaV2.1 surface expression in neurons. Compared with the other two known full-length β4 variants (β4a and β4b), β4e is most abundantly expressed in the distal axon, but lacks nuclear-targeting properties. To determine the importance of nuclear targeting of β4 subunits for transcriptional regulation, we performed whole-genome expression profiling of CGCs from lethargic (β4-null) mice individually reconstituted with β4a, β4b, and β4e. Notably, the number of genes regulated by each β4 splice variant correlated with the rank order of their nuclear-targeting properties (β4b > β4a > β4e). Together, these findings support isoform-specific functions of β4 splice variants in neurons, with β4b playing a dual role in channel modulation and gene regulation, whereas the newly detected β4e variant serves exclusively in calcium-channel-dependent functions.