Role of the synprint site in presynaptic targeting of the calcium channel CaV2.2 in hippocampal neurons

Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Aug;24(3):709-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.04947.x.


Sequences in the cytoplasmic II-III loop of CaV2 voltage-gated calcium channels, termed the synaptic protein interaction (synprint) site, are considered important for the functional incorporation of presynaptic calcium channels into the synaptic vesicle fusion apparatus. Two novel CaV2.2 splice variants lack large parts of the cytoplasmic II-III loop (Delta1 R756-L1139, Delta2 K737-A1001) including the synprint protein-protein interaction domain. Here we expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP)-alpha1B subunit fusion constructs of CaV2.2 splice variants in mouse hippocampal neurons to study their distribution in distinct neuronal compartments and to address the question of whether and how the synprint site functions in the presynaptic targeting of N-type calcium channels. Similar to full-length GFP-alpha1B but divergent from the somatodendritic alpha1C-HA (CaV1.2) channel type, the splice variants GFP-alpha1B-Delta1 and GFP-alpha1B-Delta2 were targeted into the axons. Nevertheless, their ability to form bona fide presynaptic clusters was almost abolished for GFP-alpha1B-Delta1 and significantly reduced for GFP-alpha1B-Delta2. Thus, the synprint site is important for normal synaptic targeting of CaV2.2 but not essential. Conversely, insertion of the synprint site into the II-III loop of alpha1C-HA did not restore axonal targeting or synaptic clustering. Together these results indicate that protein-protein interactions with the synprint site must cooperate with other targeting mechanisms in the incorporation of CaV2.2 into presynaptic specializations of hippocampal neurons but are neither necessary nor sufficient for axonal targeting. The unique targeting properties of the splice variants lacking the synprint site are suggestive of specific functions of these calcium channels apart from activating fast synaptic transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics
  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / chemistry
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / genetics
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Membrane Fusion / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Presynaptic Terminals / drug effects
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology
  • Protein Transport / genetics
  • Receptor Aggregation / genetics*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Synaptic Membranes / genetics
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism


  • Cacna1b protein, mouse
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins