L-type calcium currents (ICa) are influenced by changes in extracellular chloride, but sites of anion effects have not been identified. Our experiments showed that CaV1.2 currents expressed in HEK293 cells are strongly inhibited by replacing extracellular chloride with gluconate or perchlorate. Variance-mean analysis of ICa and cell-attached patch single channel recordings indicate that gluconate-induced inhibition is due to intracellular anion effects on Ca2+ channel open probability, not conductance. Inhibition of CaV1.2 currents produced by replacing chloride with gluconate was reduced from ∼75%-80% to ∼50% by omitting β subunits but unaffected by omitting α2δ subunits. Similarly, gluconate inhibition was reduced to ∼50% by deleting an α1 subunit N-terminal region of 15 residues critical for β subunit interactions regulating open probability. Omitting β subunits with this mutant α1 subunit did not further diminish inhibition. Gluconate inhibition was unchanged with expression of different β subunits. Truncating the C terminus at AA1665 reduced gluconate inhibition from ∼75%-80% to ∼50% whereas truncating it at AA1700 had no effect. Neutralizing arginines at AA1696 and 1697 by replacement with glutamines reduced gluconate inhibition to ∼60% indicating these residues are particularly important for anion effects. Expressing CaV1.2 channels that lacked both N and C termini reduced gluconate inhibition to ∼25% consistent with additive interactions between the two tail regions. Our results suggest that modest changes in intracellular anion concentration can produce significant effects on CaV1.2 currents mediated by changes in channel open probability involving β subunit interactions with the N terminus and a short C terminal region.
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