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J Physiol. 2001 May 1;532(Pt 3):583-93.

Functional roles of gamma2, gamma3 and gamma4, three new Ca2+ channel subunits, in P/Q-type Ca2+ channel expressed in Xenopus oocytes.

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CRBM, CNRS UPR 1086, UFR 24, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.


Stargazin or [gamma]2, the product of the gene mutated in the stargazer mouse, is a homologue of the [gamma]1 protein, an accessory subunit of the skeletal muscle L-type Ca2+ channel. [gamma]2 is selectively expressed in the brain, and considered to be a putative neuronal Ca2+ channel subunit based mainly on homology to [gamma]1. Two new members of the [gamma] family expressed in the brain have recently been identified: [gamma]3 and [gamma]4. We have co-expressed, in Xenopus oocytes, the human [gamma]2, [gamma]3 and [gamma]4 subunits with the P/Q-type (Ca(V)2.1) Ca2+ channel and different regulatory subunits ([alpha]2-[delta]; [beta]1, [beta]2, [beta]3 or [beta]4). Subcellular distribution of the [gamma] subunits confirmed their membrane localization. Ba2+ currents, recorded using two-electrode voltage clamp, showed that the effects of the [gamma] subunits on the electrophysiological properties of the channel are, most of the time, minor. However, a fraction of the oocytes expressing [beta] subunits displayed an unusual slow-inactivating Ba2+ current. Expression of both [beta] and [gamma] subunits increased the appearance of the slow-inactivating current. Our data support a role for the [gamma] subunit as a brain Ca2+ channel modulatory subunit and suggest that [beta] and [gamma] subunits are involved in a switch between two regulatory modes of the P/Q-type channel inactivation.

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