Selective Inhibition of Cav3.3 T-type Calcium Channels by Gαq/11-coupled Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors Academic Article uri icon

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  • T-type calcium channels play critical roles in controlling neuronal excitability, including the generation of complex spiking patterns and the modulation of synaptic plasticity, although the mechanisms and extent to which T-type Ca(2+) channels are modulated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) remain largely unexplored. To examine specific interactions between T-type Ca(2+) channel subtypes and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRS), the Cav3.1 (alpha(1G)), Cav3.2 (alpha(1H)), and Cav3.3 (alpha) T-type Ca(2+)(1I)channels were co-expressed with the M1 Galpha(q/11)-coupled mAChR. Perforated patch recordings demonstrate that activation of M1 receptors has a strong inhibitory effect on Cav3.3 T-type Ca(2+) currents but either no effect or a moderate stimulating effect on Cav3.1 and Cav3.2 peak current amplitudes. This differential modulation was observed for both rat and human T-type Ca(2+) channel variants. The inhibition of Cav3.3 channels by M1 receptors is reversible, use-independent, and associated with a concomitant increase in inactivation kinetics. Loss-of-function experiments with genetically encoded antagonists of Galpha and Gbetagamma proteins and gain-of-function experiments with genetically encoded Galpha subtypes indicate that M1 receptor-mediated inhibition of Cav3.3 occurs through Galpha(q/11). This is supported by experiments showing that activation of the M3 and M5 Galpha(q/11)-coupled mAChRs also causes inhibition of Cav3.3 currents, although Galpha(i)-coupled mAChRs (M2 and M4) have no effect. Examining Cav3.1-Cav3.3 chimeric channels demonstrates that two distinct regions of the Cav3.3 channel are necessary and sufficient for complete M1 receptor-mediated channel inhibition and represent novel sites not previously implicated in T-type channel modulation.


  • Hildebrand, Michael E
  • David, Laurence S
  • Hamid, Jemila
  • Mulatz, Kirk
  • Garcia, Esperanza
  • Zamponi, Gerald W
  • Snutch, Terrance P

publication date

  • July 2007

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