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J Biol Chem. 1991 Nov 15;266(32):21943-7.

Heterologous regulation of the cardiac Ca2+ channel alpha 1 subunit by skeletal muscle beta and gamma subunits. Implications for the structure of cardiac L-type Ca2+ channels.

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Department of Molecular Physiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030.


High threshold L-type Ca2+ channels of skeletal muscle are thought to consist of a complex of alpha 1, alpha 2 delta, beta, and gamma subunits. Expression of the cloned alpha 1 subunit from skeletal and cardiac muscle has established that this protein is the dihydropyridine-sensitive ion-conducting subunit. However, the kinetics of the skeletal muscle alpha 1 alone expressed in mouse L-cells were abnormally slow and were accelerated to within the normal range by coexpression with the skeletal muscle beta subunit. The kinetics of cardiac muscle alpha 1 were also slowed but to a lesser extent and were not altered by coexpression with skeletal muscle alpha 2. We show here that coexpression of the skeletal muscle beta subunit with the cardiac alpha 1 subunit in Xenopus laevis oocytes produced: 1) an increase in the peak voltage-sensitive current, 2) a shift of the peak current-voltage relationship to more hyperpolarized potentials, and 3) an increase in the rate of activation. Coexpression of the skeletal muscle gamma subunit did not have a significant effect on currents elicited by alpha 1. However, when gamma was coexpressed with beta and alpha 1, both peak currents and rates of activation at more negative potentials were increased. These results indicate that rather than simply amplifying expression of alpha 1, heterologous skeletal muscle beta and gamma subunits can modulate the biophysical properties of cardiac alpha 1.

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