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Nature. 1999 May 13;399(6732):155-9.

Ca2+/calmodulin binds to and modulates P/Q-type calcium channels.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7280, USA.


Neurotransmitter release at many central synapses is initiated by an influx of calcium ions through P/Q-type calcium channels, which are densely localized in nerve terminals. Because neurotransmitter release is proportional to the fourth power of calcium concentration, regulation of its entry can profoundly influence neurotransmission. N- and P/Q-type calcium channels are inhibited by G proteins, and recent evidence indicates feedback regulation of P/Q-type channels by calcium. Although calcium-dependent inactivation of L-type channels is well documented, little is known about how calcium modulates P/Q-type channels. Here we report a calcium-dependent interaction between calmodulin and a novel site in the carboxy-terminal domain of the alpha1A subunit of P/Q-type channels. In the presence of low concentrations of intracellular calcium chelators, calcium influx through P/Q-type channels enhances channel inactivation, increases recovery from inactivation and produces a long-lasting facilitation of the calcium current. These effects are prevented by overexpression of a calmodulin-binding inhibitor peptide and by deletion of the calmodulin-binding domain. Our results reveal an unexpected association of Ca2+/calmodulin with P/Q-type calcium channels that may contribute to calcium-dependent synaptic plasticity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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