Intramembrane charge movements and excitation-contraction coupling expressed by two-domain fragments of the CA2+ channel

Chris A. Ahern, Jyothi Arikkath, Paola Vallejo, Christina A. Gurnett, Patricia A. Powers, Kevin P. Campbell, Roberto Coronado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


To investigate the molecular basis of the voltage sensor that triggers excitation-contraction (EC) coupling, the four-domain pore subunit of the dihydropyridine receptor (DHPR) was cut in the cytoplasmic linker between domains II and III. cDNAs for the I-II domain (α1S 1-670) and the III-IV domain (α1S 701-1873) were expressed in dysgenic α1S-null myotubes. Coexpression of the two fragments resulted in complete recovery of DHPR intramembrane charge movement and voltage-evoked Ca2+ transients. When fragments were expressed separately, EC coupling was not recovered. However, charge movement was detected in the I-II domain expressed alone. Compared with I-II and III-IV together, the charge movement in the I-II domain accounted for about half of the total charge (Qmax = 3 ± 0.23 vs. 5.4 ± 0.76 fC/pF, respectively), and the half-activation potential for charge movement was significantly more negative (V1/2 = 0.2 ± 3.5 vs. 22 ± 3.4 mV, respectively). Thus, interactions between the four internal domains of the pore subunit in the assembled DHPR profoundly affect the voltage dependence of intramembrane charge movement. We also tested a two-domain I-II construct of the neuronal α1A Ca2+ channel. The neuronal I-II domain recovered charge movements like those of the skeletal I-II domain but could not assist the skeletal III-IV domain in the recovery of EC coupling. The results demonstrate that a functional voltage sensor capable of triggering EC coupling in skeletal myotubes can be recovered by the expression of complementary fragments of the DHPR pore subunit. Furthermore, the intrinsic voltage-sensing properties of the α1A I-II domain suggest that this hemi-Ca2+ channel could be relevant to neuronal function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6935-6940
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 5 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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