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Biophys J. 1996 Nov;71(5):2531-43.

Reduced Ca2+ current, charge movement, and absence of Ca2+ transients in skeletal muscle deficient in dihydropyridine receptor beta 1 subunit.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison 53706, USA.


The Ca2+ currents, charge movements, and intracellular Ca2+ transients in mouse skeletal muscle cells homozygous for a null mutation in the cchb1 gene encoding the beta 1 subunit of the dihydropyridine receptor have been characterized. I beta null, the L-type Ca2+ current of mutant cells, had a approximately 13-fold lower density than the L-type current of normal cells (0.41 +/- 0.042 pA/pF at + 20 mV, compared with 5.2 +/- 0.38 pA/pF in normal cells). I beta null was sensitive to dihydropyridines and had faster kinetics of activation and slower kinetics of inactivation than the L-type current of normal cells. Charge movement was reduced approximately 2.8-fold, with Qmax = 6.9 +/- 0.61 and Qmax = 2.5 +/- 0.2 nC/microF in normal and mutant cells, respectively. Approximately 40% of Qmax was nifedipine sensitive in both groups. In contrast to normal cells, Ca2+ transients could not be detected in mutant cells at any test potential; however, caffeine induced a robust Ca2+ transient. In homogenates of mutant muscle, the maximum density of [3H]PN200-110 binding sites (Bmax) was reduced approximately 3.9-fold. The results suggest that the excitation-contraction uncoupling of beta 1-null skeletal muscle involves a failure of the transduction mechanism that is due to either a reduced amount of alpha 1S subunits in the membrane or the specific absence of beta 1 from the voltage-sensor complex.

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