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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 8;20(22). pii: E5591. doi: 10.3390/ijms20225591.

RBM20 Regulates CaV1.2 Surface Expression by Promoting Exon 9* Inclusion of CACNA1C in Neonatal Rat Cardiomyocytes.

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Laboratory of Animal Cell Physiology, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.
The School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, King's College London British Heart Foundation Centre of Excellence, London SE5 9NU, UK.


The CACNA1C gene encodes for the CaV1.2 protein, which is the pore subunit of cardiac l-type voltage-gated calcium (Ca2+) channels (l-channels). Through alternative splicing, CACNA1C encodes for various CaV1.2 isoforms with different electrophysiological properties. Splice variants of CaV1.2 are differentially expressed during heart development or pathologies. The molecular mechanisms of CACNA1C alternative splicing still remain incompletely understood. RNA sequencing analysis has suggested that CACNA1C is a potential target of the splicing factor RNA-binding protein motif 20 (RBM20). Here, we aimed at elucidating the role of RBM20 in the regulation of CACNA1C alternative splicing. We found that in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCMs), RBM20 overexpression promoted the inclusion of CACNA1C's exon 9*, whereas the skipping of exon 9* occurred upon RBM20 siRNA knockdown. The splicing of other known alternative exons was not altered by RBM20. RNA immunoprecipitation suggested that RBM20 binds to introns flanking exon 9*. Functionally, in NRCMs, RBM20 overexpression decreased l-type Ca2+ currents, whereas RBM20 siRNA knockdown increased l-type Ca2+ currents. Finally, we found that RBM20 overexpression reduced CaV1.2 membrane surface expression in NRCMs. Taken together, our results suggest that RBM20 specifically regulates the inclusion of exon 9* in CACNA1C mRNA, resulting in reduced cell-surface membrane expression of l-channels in cardiomyocytes.


RBM20; alternative splicing; cardiomyocytes; l-type voltage-gated calcium channels

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