Molecular mimicking of C-terminal phosphorylation tunes the surface dynamics of CaV1.2 calcium channels in hippocampal neurons

Alessandra Folci, Angela Steinberger, Boram Lee, Ruslan Stanika, Susanne Scheruebel, Marta Campiglio, Claudia Ramprecht, Brigitte Pelzmann, Johannes W. Hell, Gerald J. Obermair, Martin Heine, Valentina Di Biase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


L-type voltage-gated CaV1.2 calcium channels (CaV1.2) are key regulators of neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity, and excitation-transcription coupling. Surface-exposed CaV1.2 distributes in clusters along the dendrites of hippocampal neurons. A permanent exchange between stably clustered and laterally diffusive extra-clustered channels maintains steady-state levels of CaV1.2 at dendritic signaling domains. A dynamic equilibrium between anchored and diffusive receptors is a common feature among ion channels and is crucial to modulate signaling transduction. Despite the importance of this fine regulatory system, the molecular mechanisms underlying the surface dynamics of CaV1.2 are completely unexplored. Here, we examined the dynamic states of CaV1.2 depending on phosphorylation on Ser-1700 and Ser-1928 at the channel C terminus. Phosphorylation at these sites is strongly involved in CaV1.2-mediated nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) signaling, long-term potentiation, and responsiveness to adrenergic stimulation. We engineered CaV1.2 constructs mimicking phosphorylation at Ser-1700 and Ser-1928 and analyzed their behavior at the membrane by immunolabeling protocols, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, and single particle tracking. We found that the phosphomimetic S1928E variant increases the mobility of CaV1.2 without altering the steady-state maintenance of cluster in young neurons and favors channel stabilization later in differentiation. Instead, mimicking phosphorylation at Ser-1700 promoted the diffusive state of CaV1.2 irrespective of the differentiation stage. Together, these results reveal that phosphorylation could contribute to the establishment of channel anchoring mechanisms depending on the neuronal differentiation state. Finally, our findings suggest a novel mechanism by which phosphorylation at the C terminus regulates calcium signaling by tuning the content of CaV1.2 at signaling complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1053
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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