Ca(2+) channel β subunits determine the maturation, biophysical properties and cell surface expression of high voltage-activated channels. Thus, we have analysed the expression, regional distribution and subcellular localization of the Ca(v) β subunit family in mice from birth to adulthood. In the hippocampus and cerebellum, Ca(v) β(1), Ca(v) β(3) and Ca(v) β(4) protein levels increased with age, although there were marked region- and developmental stage-specific differences in their expression. Ca(v) β(1) was predominantly expressed in the strata oriens and radiatum of the hippocampus, and only weakly in the cerebellum. The Ca(v) β(3) subunit was mainly expressed in the strata radiatum and lucidum of the hippocampus and in the molecular layer of the cerebellum. During development, Ca(v) β(3) protein expression in the cerebellum peaked at postnatal days (P) 15 and 21, and had diminished drastically by P60, and in the hippocampus increased with age throughout all subfields. Ca(v) β(4) protein was detected throughout the cerebellum, particularly in the molecular layer, and in contrast to the other subunits, Ca(v) β(4) was mainly detected in the molecular layer and the hilus of the hippocampus. At the subcellular level, Ca(v) β(1) and Ca(v) β(3) were predominantly located post-synaptically in hippocampal pyramidal cells and cerebellar Purkinje cells. Ca(v) β(4) subunits were detected in the pre-synaptic and post-synaptic compartments of both regions, albeit more strongly at post-synaptic sites. These results shed new light on the developmental regulation and subcellular localization of Ca(v) β subunits, and their possible role in pre- and post-synaptic transmission.
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Neurochemistry © 2012 International Society for Neurochemistry.