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J Biol Chem. 1999 Jul 30;274(31):21913-9.

The II-III loop of the skeletal muscle dihydropyridine receptor is responsible for the Bi-directional coupling with the ryanodine receptor.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


The dihydropyridine receptor (DHPR) in the skeletal muscle plasmalemma functions as both voltage-gated Ca(2+) channel and voltage sensor for excitation-contraction (EC) coupling. As voltage sensor, the DHPR regulates intracellular Ca(2+) release via the skeletal isoform of the ryanodine receptor (RyR-1). Interaction with RyR-1 also feeds back to increase the Ca(2+) current mediated by the DHPR. To identify regions of the DHPR important for receiving this signal from RyR-1, we expressed in dysgenic myotubes a chimera (SkLC) having skeletal (Sk) DHPR sequence except for a cardiac (C) II-III loop (L). Tagging with green fluorescent protein (GFP) enabled identification of expressing myotubes. Dysgenic myotubes expressing GFP-SkLC or SkLC lacked EC coupling and had very small Ca(2+) currents. Introducing a short skeletal segment (alpha(1S) residues 720-765) into the cardiac II-III loop (replacing alpha(1C) residues 851-896) of GFP-SkLC restored both EC coupling and Ca(2+) current densities like those of the wild type skeletal DHPR. This 46-amino acid stretch of skeletal sequence was recently shown to be capable of transferring strong, skeletal-type EC coupling to an otherwise cardiac DHPR (Nakai, J., Tanabe, T., Konno, T., Adams, B., and Beam, K.G. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 24983-24986). Thus, this segment of the skeletal II-III loop contains a motif required for both skeletal-type EC coupling and RyR-1-mediated enhancement of Ca(2+) current.

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