Regulation of Postsynaptic Stability by the L-type Calcium Channel CaV1.3 and its Interaction with PDZ Proteins

Curr Mol Pharmacol. 2015;8(1):95-101. doi: 10.2174/1874467208666150507103716.


Alterations in dendritic spine morphology and postsynaptic structure are a hallmark of neurological disorders. Particularly spine pruning of striatal medium spiny neurons and aberrant rewiring of corticostriatal synapses have been associated with the pathology of Parkinson's disease and LDOPA induced dyskinesia, respectively. Owing to its low activation threshold the neuronal L-type calcium channel CaV1.3 is particularly critical in the control of neuronal excitability and thus in the calcium-dependent regulation of neuronal functions. CaV1.3 channels are located in dendritic spines and contain a C-terminal class 1 PDZ domain-binding sequence. Until today the postsynaptic PDZ domain proteins shank, densin-180, and erbin have been shown to interact with CaV1.3 channels and to modulate their current properties. Interestingly experimental evidence suggests an involvement of all three PDZ proteins as well as CaV1.3 itself in regulating dendritic and postsynaptic morphology. Here we briefly review the importance of CaV1.3 and its proposed interactions with PDZ proteins for the stability of dendritic spines. With a special focus on the pathology associated with Parkinson's disease, we discuss the hypothesis that CaV1.3 L-type calcium channels may be critical modulators of dendritic spine stability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / genetics
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • PDZ Domains*
  • RNA Splicing


  • Calcium Channels, L-Type