Ca(V)1.2 channel N-terminal splice variants modulate functional surface expression in resistance size artery smooth muscle cells

J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 29;286(17):15058-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.182816. Epub 2011 Feb 28.


Voltage-dependent Ca(2+) (Ca(V)1.2) channels are the primary Ca(2+) influx pathway in arterial smooth muscle cells and are essential for contractility regulation by a variety of stimuli, including intravascular pressure. Arterial smooth muscle cell Ca(V)1.2 mRNA is alternatively spliced at exon 1 (e1), generating e1b or e1c variants, with e1c exhibiting relatively smooth muscle-specific expression in the cardiovascular system. Here, we examined physiological functions of Ca(V)1.2e1 variants and tested the hypothesis that targeting Ca(V)1.2e1 modulates resistance size cerebral artery contractility. Custom antibodies that selectively recognize Ca(V)1.2 channel proteins containing sequences encoded by either e1b (Ca(V)1.2e1b) or e1c (Ca(V)1.2e1c) both detected Ca(V)1.2 in rat and human cerebral arteries. shRNA targeting e1b or e1c reduced expression of that Ca(V)1.2 variant, induced compensatory up-regulation of the other variant, decreased total Ca(V)1.2, and reduced intravascular pressure- and depolarization-induced vasoconstriction. Ca(V)1.2e1b and Ca(V)1.2e1c knockdown reduced whole cell Ca(V)1.2 currents, with Ca(V)1.2e1c knockdown most effectively reducing total Ca(V)1.2 and inducing the largest vasodilation. Knockdown of α(2)δ-1, a Ca(V)1.2 auxiliary subunit, reduced surface expression of both Ca(V)1.2e1 variants, inhibiting Ca(V)1.2e1c more than Ca(V)1.2e1b. e1b or e1c overexpression reduced Ca(V)1.2 surface expression and whole cell currents, leading to vasodilation, with e1c overexpression inducing the largest effect. In summary, data indicate that arterial smooth muscle cells express Ca(V)1.2 channels containing e1b or e1c-encoded N termini that contribute to Ca(V)1.2 surface expression, α(2)δ-1 preferentially traffics the Ca(V)1.2e1c variant to the plasma membrane, and targeting of Ca(V)1.2e1 message or the Ca(V)1.2 channel proximal N terminus induces vasodilation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / genetics*
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cerebral Arteries / cytology
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiology*
  • Chickens
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Rats
  • Vasoconstriction*


  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Calcium