Subunit structure and localization of dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels in mammalian brain, spinal cord, and retina

Neuron. 1990 Jun;4(6):819-32. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(90)90135-3.


Monoclonal antibodies that recognize the alpha 2 delta subunits of calcium channels from skeletal muscle immunoprecipitate a complex of alpha 1, alpha 2 delta, beta, and gamma subunits. They also immunoprecipitate 64% of rabbit brain dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels. Iodination of partially purified brain calcium channels followed by immunoprecipitation reveals alpha 1-, alpha 2 delta-, and beta-like subunits that have apparent molecular masses of 175, 142, and 57 kd, respectively. A polypeptide of 100 kd is also specifically immunoprecipitated. Immunocytochemical studies identify dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels in neuronal somata and proximal dendrites in rat brain, spinal cord, and retina. Staining of many neuronal somata is uneven, revealing relatively high densities of dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels at the base of major dendrites. L-type calcium channels in this location may serve to mediate long-lasting increases in intracellular calcium in the cell body in response to excitatory inputs to the dendrites.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Calcium Channels / drug effects
  • Calcium Channels / ultrastructure*
  • Dihydropyridines / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis*
  • Membrane Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / immunology
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Calcium Channels
  • Dihydropyridines
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Membrane Proteins
  • 1,4-dihydropyridine