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Channels (Austin). 2011 Jul-Aug;5(4):320-4. doi: 10.4161/chan.5.4.16821. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Calmodulin overexpression does not alter Cav1.2 function or oligomerization state.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Interactions between calmodulin (CaM) and voltage-gated calcium channels (Ca(v)s) are crucial for Ca(v) activity-dependent feedback modulation. We recently reported an X-ray structure that shows two Ca(2+)/CaM molecules bound to the Ca(v)1.2 C terminal tail, one at the PreIQ region and one at the IQ domain. Surprisingly, the asymmetric unit of the crystal showed a dimer in which Ca(2+)/CaM bridged two PreIQ helixes to form a 4:2 Ca(2+)/CaM:Ca(v) C-terminal tail assembly. Contrary to previous proposals based on a similar crystallographic dimer, extensive biochemical analysis together with subunit counting experiments of full-length channels in live cell membranes failed to find evidence for multimers that would be compatible with the 4:2 crossbridged complex. Here, we examine this possibility further. We find that CaM over-expression has no functional effect on Ca(v)1.2 inactivation or on the stoichiometry of full-length Ca(v)1.2. These data provide further support for the monomeric Ca(v)1.2 stoichiometry. Analysis of the electrostatic surfaces of the 2:1 Ca(2+)/CaM:Ca(V) C-terminal tail assembly reveals notable patches of electronegativity. These could influence various forms of channel modulation by interacting with positively charged elements from other intracellular channel domains.

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