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J Neurochem. 1999 Feb;72(2):791-9.

Structure and functional characterization of a novel human low-voltage activated calcium channel.

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  • 1SIBIA Neurosciences Inc., La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


We have isolated and characterized overlapping cDNAs encoding a novel, voltage-gated Ca2+ channel alpha1 subunit, alpha1H, from a human medullary thyroid carcinoma cell line. The alpha1H subunit is structurally similar to previously described alpha1 subunits. Northern blot analysis indicates that alpha1H mRNA is expressed throughout the brain, primarily in the amygdala, caudate nucleus, and putamen, as well as in several nonneuronal tissues, with relatively high levels in the liver, kidney, and heart. Ba2+ currents recorded from human embryonic kidney 293 cells transiently expressing alpha1H activated at relatively hyperpolarized potentials (-50 mV), rapidly inactivated (tau = 17 ms), and slowly deactivated. Similar results were observed in Xenopus oocytes expressing alpha1H. Single-channel measurements in human embryonic kidney 293 cells revealed a single-channel conductance of approximately 9 pS. These channels are blocked by Ni2+ (IC50 = 6.6 microM) and the T-type channel antagonists mibefradil (approximately 50% block at 1 microM) and amiloride (IC50 = 167 microM). Thus, alpha1H-containing channels exhibit biophysical and pharmacological properties characteristic of low voltage-activated, or T-type, Ca2+ channels.

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