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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jul 9;279(28):29709-17. Epub 2004 Apr 22.

A single Gbeta subunit locus controls cross-talk between protein kinase C and G protein regulation of N-type calcium channels.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada.


The modulation of N-type calcium channels is a key factor in the control of neurotransmitter release. Whereas N-type channels are inhibited by Gbetagamma subunits in a G protein beta-isoform-dependent manner, channel activity is typically stimulated by activation of protein kinase C (PKC). In addition, there is cross-talk among these pathways, such that PKC-dependent phosphorylation of the Gbetagamma target site on the N-type channel antagonizes subsequent G protein inhibition, albeit only for Gbeta(1)-mediated responses. The molecular mechanisms that control this G protein beta subunit subtype-specific regulation have not been described. Here, we show that G protein inhibition of N-type calcium channels is critically dependent on two separate but adjacent approximately 20-amino acid regions of the Gbeta subunit, plus a highly conserved Asn-Tyr-Val motif. These regions are distinct from those implicated previously in Gbetagamma signaling to other effectors such as G protein-coupled inward rectifier potassium channels, phospholipase beta(2), and adenylyl cyclase, thus raising the possibility that the specificity for G protein signaling to calcium channels might rely on unique G protein structural determinants. In addition, we identify a highly specific locus on the Gbeta(1) subunit that serves as a molecular detector of PKC-dependent phosphorylation of the G protein target site on the N-type channel alpha(1) subunit, thus providing for a molecular basis for G protein-PKC cross-talk. Overall, our results significantly advance our understanding of the molecular details underlying the integration of G protein and PKC signaling pathways at the level of the N-type calcium channel alpha(1) subunit.

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