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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 6;274(32):22428-36.

Multiple structural domains contribute to voltage-dependent inactivation of rat brain alpha(1E) calcium channels.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Neuroscience Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada.


We have investigated the molecular determinants that mediate the differences in voltage-dependent inactivation properties between rapidly inactivating (R-type) alpha(1E) and noninactivating (L-type) alpha(1C) calcium channels. When coexpressed in human embryonic kidney cells with ancillary beta(1b) and alpha(2)-delta subunits, the wild type channels exhibit dramatically different inactivation properties; the half-inactivation potential of alpha(1E) is 45 mV more negative than that observed with alpha(1C), and during a 150-ms test depolarization, alpha(1E) undergoes 65% inactivation compared with only about 15% for alpha(1C). To define the structural determinants that govern these intrinsic differences, we have created a series of chimeric calcium channel alpha(1) subunits that combine the major structural domains of the two wild type channels, and we investigated their voltage-dependent inactivation properties. Each of the four transmembrane domains significantly affected the half-inactivation potential, with domains II and III being most critical. In particular, substitution of alpha(1C) sequence in domains II or III with that of alpha(1E) resulted in 25-mV negative shifts in half-inactivation potential. Similarly, the differences in inactivation rate were predominantly governed by transmembrane domains II and III and to some extent by domain IV. Thus, voltage-dependent inactivation of alpha(1E) channels is a complex process that involves multiple structural domains and possibly a global conformational change in the channel protein.

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