Role of a-actinin in Cav1.2 Function

Project: Research projectResearch Project


Role of ?-actinin in Cav1.2 FunctionAbstractL-type Ca2+ channels are tightly coupled to gene transcription, control neuronal excitability, and mediatemultiple forms of synaptic plasticity. Yet its cell biology and regulation is remarkably poorly understood. Ourlong term interest is to determine the molecular mechanisms that regulate the L-type channel Cav1.2 (e.g.,Science 293, 98; Science 293, 2205; PNAS 103, 7500; Neuron 78, 483), which is the most prevalent L-typechannel in brain and heart. We recently found that ?-actinin binds directly to the IQ motif of the central pore-forming Cav1.2 subunit ?11.2 and augments its surface localization (Neuron 78, 483). We now identify threepoint mutations in the IQ motif that individually impair ?-actinin binding. Our preliminary electrophysiologicaland surface labeling data suggest that impairing ?-actinin binding to the IQ motif decreases surfaceexpression and, unexpectedly, also channel open probability (Po). Aim 1 is the very first comprehensiveanalysis of trafficking kinetics of WT and point mutated Cav1.2 through the ER-Golgi-TGN secretory pathwayand endocytic recycling and degradation pathway by surface biotinylation, N-glycosylation analysis andcolocalization with respective markers like BiP and Rab5. Aim 2 is to determine and compare current density,gating currents, and single channel currents to test whether the ?-actinin binding - deficient point mutations ofCav1.2 have decreased Po. Our structural analysis is guiding charge reversal experiments for unequivocal (!)assignment of deficits in surface expression and Po in the Cav1.2 mutants to loss of ?-actinin binding. Wefound that Ca2+ influx specifically through Cav1.2 leads to displacement of ?-actinin from the IQ motif byCa2+/calmodulin and in parallel to run down of Cav1.2 via endocytosis and reduction in Po. Aim 3 is to unravelthe interplay between ?-actinin and calmodulin at the IQ motif to precisely define the molecular mechanisms ofhow Ca2+/calmodulin displaces ?-actinin and leads to endocytosis and run down of Cav1.2. Aim 4 will test firstthe role of ?-actinin in neuronal Cav1.2 functions including Ca2+ influx into spines and regulation of geneexpression via NFAT and then why ?-actinin association and, fittingly, surface expression of Cav1.2 isincreased in rodent models of senility and Alzheimer?s disease (AD). Increased Cav1.2 channel activitycontributes to senile symptoms and AD (e.g., Science 272, 1017; Science 243, 809). Cav1.2 also plays animportant role in PTSD and dysregulation of Cav1.2 leads to autism spectrum disorders (Cell 119, 19-31). Thusour work on the functional interplay of Cav1.2 with ?-actinin and calmodulin is of high significance forunderstanding and ultimately treatment of these brain diseases. On a broader perspective it is of physiologicalimportance as it will define important aspects that govern the functional availability of Cav1.2 with its manifoldfunctions in neurons and beyond including learning and memory.
Effective start/end date8/15/164/30/21


  • National Institutes of Health: $501,621.00


Neuronal Plasticity
Brain Diseases
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Point Mutation
Cell Biology