Cacna1b alternative splicing impacts excitatory neurotransmission and is linked to behavioral responses to aversive stimuli.

Academic Article


  • Presynaptic CaV2.2 channels control calcium entry that triggers neurotransmitter release at both central and peripheral synapses. The Cacna1b gene encodes the α1-pore forming subunit of CaV2.2 channels. Distinct subsets of splice variants of CaV2.2 derived from cell-specific alternative splicing of the Cacna1b pre-mRNA are expressed in specific subpopulations of neurons. Four cell-specific sites of alternative splicing in Cacna1b that alter CaV2.2 channel function have been described in detail: three cassette exons (e18a, e24a, and e31a) and a pair of mutually exclusive exons (e37a/e37b). Cacna1b mRNAs containing e37a are highly enriched in a subpopulation of nociceptors where they influence nociception and morphine analgesia. E37a-Cacna1b mRNAs are also expressed in brain, but their cell-specific expression in this part of the nervous system, their functional consequences in central synapses and their role on complex behavior have not been studied. In this report, we show that e37a-Cacna1b mRNAs are expressed in excitatory projection neurons where CaV2.2 channels are known to influence transmitter release at excitatory inputs from entorhinal cortex (EC) to dentate gyrus (DG). By comparing behaviors of WT mice to those that only express e37b-CaV2.2 channels, we found evidence that e37a-CaV2.2 enhances behavioral responses to aversive stimuli. Our results suggest that alternative splicing of Cacna1b e37a influences excitatory transmitter release and couples to complex behaviors.
  • Authors

  • Bunda, Alexandra
  • LaCarubba, Brianna
  • Bertolino, Melanie
  • Akiki, Marie
  • Bath, Kevin
  • Lopez-Soto, Javier
  • Lipscombe, Diane
  • Andrade, Arturo
  • Publication Date

  • October 21, 2019
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

  • Molecular Brain  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Alternative splicing
  • Anxiety
  • CaV2.2 channels
  • Calcium channels
  • Dentate gyrus
  • Exploratory behavior
  • Medial entorhinal cortex
  • Medial perforant path
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 81
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 1