Alternative splicing in the voltage-sensing region of N-Type CaV2.2 channels modulates channel kinetics

J Neurophysiol. 2004 Nov;92(5):2820-30. doi: 10.1152/jn.00048.2004. Epub 2004 Jun 16.


The CaV2.2 gene encodes the functional core of the N-type calcium channel. This gene has the potential to generate thousands of CaV2.2 splice isoforms with different properties. However, the functional significance of most sites of alternative splicing is not established. The IVS3-IVS4 region contains an alternative splice site that is conserved evolutionarily among CaValpha1 genes from Drosophila to human. In CaV2.2, inclusion of exon 31a in the IVS3-IVS4 region is restricted to the peripheral nervous system, and its inclusion slows the speed of channel activation. To investigate the effects of exon 31a in more detail, we generated four tsA201 cell lines stably expressing CaV2.2 splice isoforms. Coexpression of auxiliary CaVbeta and CaValpha2delta subunits was required to reconstitute currents with the kinetics of N-type channels from neurons. Channels including exon 31a activated and deactivated more slowly at all voltages. Current densities were high enough in the stable cell lines co-expressing CaValpha2delta to resolve gating currents. The steady-state voltage dependence of charge movement was not consistently different between splice isoforms, but on gating currents from the exon 31a-containing CaV2.2 isoform decayed with a slower time course, corresponding to slower movement of the charge sensor. Exon 31a-containing CaV2.2 is restricted to peripheral ganglia; and the slower gating kinetics of CaV2.2 splice isoforms containing exon 31a correlated reasonably well with the properties of native N-type currents in sympathetic neurons. Our results suggest that alternative splicing in the S3-S4 linker influences the kinetics but not the voltage dependence of N-type channel gating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / genetics*
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Protein Subunits


  • Calcium Channels, N-Type
  • Protein Subunits