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J Gen Physiol. 2001 Nov;118(5):495-508.

Potentiation of the cardiac L-type Ca(2+) channel (alpha(1C)) by dihydropyridine agonist and strong depolarization occur via distinct mechanisms.

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


A defining property of L-type Ca(2+) channels is their potentiation by both 1,4-dihydropyridine agonists and strong depolarization. In contrast, non-L-type channels are potentiated by neither agonist nor depolarization, suggesting that these two processes may by linked. In this study, we have tested whether the mechanisms of agonist- and depolarization-induced potentiation in the cardiac L-type channel (alpha(1C)) are linked. We found that the mutant L-type channel GFP-alpha(1C)(TQ-->YM), bearing the mutations T1066Y and Q1070M, was able to undergo depolarization-induced potentiation but not potentiation by agonist. Conversely, the chimeric channel GFP-CACC was potentiated by agonist but not by strong depolarization. These data indicate that the mechanisms of agonist- and depolarization-induced potentiation of alpha(1C) are distinct. Since neither GFP-CACC nor GFP-CCAA was potentiated significantly by depolarization, no single repeat of alpha(1C) appears to be responsible for depolarization-induced potentiation. Surprisingly, GFP-CACC displayed a low estimated open probability similar to that of the alpha(1C), but could not support depolarization-induced potentiation, demonstrating that a relatively low open probability alone is not sufficient for depolarization-induced potentiation to occur. Thus, depolarization-induced potentiation may be a global channel property requiring participation from all four homologous repeats.

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