Ca2+ entry into neurons is facilitated by cooperative gating of clustered Cav1.3 channels

Claudia M. Moreno, Rose Ellen Dickson, Sendoa Tajada, Can Yuan, Ximena Opitz-Araya, Marc D. Binder, Luis Fernando Santana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


CaV1.3 channels regulate excitability in many neurons. As is the case for all voltage-gated channels, it is widely assumed that individual CaV1.3 channels behave independently with respect to voltage-activation, open probability, and facilitation. Here, we report the results of super-resolution imaging, optogenetic, and electrophysiological measurements that refute this long-held view. We found that the short channel isoform (CaV1.3S), but not the long (CaV1.3L), associates in functional clusters of two or more channels that open cooperatively, facilitating Ca2+ influx. CaV1.3S channels are coupled via a C-terminus-to-C-terminus interaction that requires binding of the incoming Ca2+ to calmodulin (CaM) and subsequent binding of CaM to the pre-IQ domain of the channels. Physically-coupled channels facilitate Ca2+ currents as a consequence of their higher open probabilities, leading to increased firing rates in rat hippocampal neurons. We propose that cooperative gating of CaV1.3S channels represents a mechanism for the regulation of Ca2+ signaling and electrical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere15744
Issue numberMAY2016
StatePublished - May 17 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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