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J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 24;281(8):4823-30. Epub 2005 Dec 23.

A molecular determinant of nickel inhibition in Cav3.2 T-type calcium channels.

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  • 1Department of Life Science, Interdisciplinary Program of Biotechnology, Sogang University, Shinsu-dong, Seoul 121-742, Korea.


Molecular cloning studies have revealed that heterogeneity of T-type Ca2+ currents in native tissues arises from the three isoforms of Ca(v)3 channels: Ca(v)3.1, Ca(v)3.2, and Ca(v)3.3. From pharmacological analysis of the recombinant T-type channels, low concentrations (<50 microM) of nickel were found to selectively block the Ca(v)3.2 over the other isoforms. To date, however, the structural element(s) responsible for the nickel block on the Ca(v)3.2 T-type Ca2+ channel remain unknown. Thus, we constructed chimeric channels between the nickel-sensitive Ca(v)3.2 and the nickel-insensitive Ca(v)3.1 to localize the region interacting with nickel. Systematic assaying of serial chimeras suggests that the region preceding domain I S4 of Ca(v)3.2 contributes to nickel block. Point mutations of potential nickel-interacting sites revealed that H191Q in the S3-S4 loop of domain I significantly attenuated the nickel block of Ca(v)3.2, mimicking the nickel-insensitive blocking potency of Ca(v)3.1. These findings indicate that His-191 in the S3-S4 loop is a critical residue conferring nickel block to Ca(v)3.2 and reveal a novel role for the S3-S4 loop to control ion permeation through T-type Ca2+ channels.

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