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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 14;6:24531. doi: 10.1038/srep24531.

Thrombospondin-4 reduces binding affinity of [(3)H]-gabapentin to calcium-channel α2δ-1-subunit but does not interact with α2δ-1 on the cell-surface when co-expressed.

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Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


The α2δ proteins are auxiliary subunits of voltage-gated calcium channels, and influence their trafficking and biophysical properties. The α2δ ligand gabapentin interacts with α2δ-1, and inhibits calcium channel trafficking. However, α2-1 has also been proposed to play a synaptogenic role, independent of calcium channel function. In this regard, α2δ-1 was identified as a ligand of thrombospondins, with the interaction involving the thrombospondin synaptogenic domain and the α2δ-1 von-Willebrand-factor domain. Co-immunoprecipitation between α2δ-1 and the synaptogenic domain of thrombospondin-2 was prevented by gabapentin. We therefore examined whether interaction of thrombospondin with α2δ-1 might reciprocally influence (3)H-gabapentin binding. We concentrated on thrombospondin-4, because, like α2δ-1, it is upregulated in neuropathic pain models. We found that in membranes from cells co-transfected with α2δ-1 and thrombospondin-4, there was a Mg(2+) -dependent reduction in affinity of (3)H-gabapentin binding to α2δ-1. This effect was lost for α2δ-1 with mutations in the von-Willebrand-factor-A domain. However, the effect on (3)H-gabapentin binding was not reproduced by the synaptogenic EGF-domain of thrombospondin-4. Partial co-immunoprecipitation could be demonstrated between thrombospondin-4 and α2δ-1 when co-transfected, but there was no co-immunoprecipitation with thrombospondin-4-EGF domain. Furthermore, we could not detect any association between these two proteins on the cell-surface, indicating the demonstrated interaction occurs intracellularly.

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