Inhibition of recombinant N-type Ca(V) channels by the gamma 2 subunit involves unfolded protein response (UPR)-dependent and UPR-independent mechanisms.

Academic Article


  • Auxiliary gamma subunits are an important component of high-voltage-activated calcium (Ca(V)) channels, but their precise regulatory role remains to be determined. In the current report, we have used complementary approaches including molecular biology and electrophysiology to investigate the influence of the gamma subunits on neuronal Ca(V) channel activity and expression. We found that coexpression of gamma2 or gamma3 subunits drastically inhibited macroscopic currents through recombinant N-type channels (Ca(V)2.2/beta3/alpha2delta) in HEK-293 cells. Using inhibitors of internalization, we found that removal of functional channels from the plasma membrane is an improbable mechanism of current regulation by gamma. Instead, changes in current amplitude could be attributed to two distinct mechanisms. First, gamma subunit expression altered the voltage dependence of channel activity. Second, gamma subunit expression reduced N-type channel synthesis via activation of the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response. Together, our findings (1) corroborate that neuronal gamma subunits significantly downregulate Ca(V)2.2 channel activity, (2) uncover a role for the gamma2 subunit in Ca(V)2.2 channel expression through early components of the biosynthetic pathway, and (3) suggest that, under certain conditions, channel protein misfolding could be induced by interactions with the gamma subunits, supporting the notion that Ca(V) channels constitute a class of difficult-to-fold proteins.
  • Authors

  • Sandoval, Alejandro
  • Andrade, Arturo
  • Beedle, Aaron M
  • Campbell, Kevin P
  • Felix, Ricardo
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 21, 2007
  • Published In


  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels
  • Cell Line
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Subunits
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 3317
  • End Page

  • 3327
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 12