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Biophys J. 2003 May;84(5):3007-21.

Distinctive modulatory effects of five human auxiliary beta2 subunit splice variants on L-type calcium channel gating.

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  • 1Calcium Signals Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Sequence analysis of the human genome permitted cloning of five Ca(2+)-channel beta(2) splice variants (beta(2a)-beta(2e)) that differed only in their proximal amino-termini. The functional consequences of such beta(2)-subunit diversity were explored in recombinant L-type channels reconstituted in HEK 293 cells. Beta(2a) and beta(2e) targeted autonomously to the plasma membrane, whereas beta(2b)-beta(2d) localized to the cytosol when expressed in HEK 293 cells. The pattern of modulation of L-type channel voltage-dependent inactivation gating correlated with the subcellular localization of the component beta(2) variant-membrane-bound beta(2a) and beta(2e) subunits conferred slow(er) channel inactivation kinetics and displayed a smaller fraction of channels recovering from inactivation with fast kinetics, compared to beta(2b)-beta(2d) channels. The varying effects of beta(2) subunits on inactivation gating were accounted for by a quantitative model in which L-type channels reversibly distributed between fast and slow forms of voltage-dependent inactivation-membrane-bound beta(2) subunits substantially decreased the steady-state fraction of fast inactivating channels. Finally, the beta(2) variants also had distinctive effects on L-type channel steady-state activation gating, as revealed by differences in the waveforms of tail-activation (G-V) curves, and conferred differing degrees of prepulse facilitation to the channel. Our results predict important physiological consequences arising from subtle changes in Ca(2+)-channel beta(2)-subunit structure due to alternative splicing and emphasize the utility of splice variants in probing structure-function mechanisms.

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