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Neuroscience. 2019 Mar 15;402:78-89. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.01.015. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

The T-type Ca2+ Channel Cav3.2 Regulates Differentiation of Neural Progenitor Cells during Cortical Development via Caspase-3.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
2
Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: lauri.louhivuori@ki.se.
4
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: per.uhlen@ki.se.

Abstract

Here we report that the low-voltage-dependent T-type calcium (Ca2+) channel Cav3.2, encoded by the CACNA1H gene, regulates neuronal differentiation during early embryonic brain development through activating caspase-3. At the onset of neuronal differentiation, neural progenitor cells exhibited spontaneous Ca2+ activity. This activity strongly correlated with the upregulation of CACNA1H mRNA. Cells exhibiting robust spontaneous Ca2+ signaling had increased caspase-3 activity unrelated to apoptosis. Inhibition of Cav3.2 by drugs or viral CACNA1H knock down resulted in decreased caspase-3 activity followed by suppressed neurogenesis. In contrast, when CACNA1H was overexpressed, increased neurogenesis was detected. Cortical slices from Cacna1h knockout mice showed decreased spontaneous Ca2+ activity, a significantly lower protein level of cleaved caspase-3, and microanatomical abnormalities in the subventricular/ventricular and cortical plate zones when compared to their respective embryonic controls. In summary, we demonstrate a novel relationship between Cav3.2 and caspase-3 signaling that affects neurogenesis in the developing brain.

KEYWORDS:

Cacna1h; T-type calcium channels; caspase-3; neural differentiation; spontaneous Ca(2+) activity

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