Voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels (Cav) undergo extensive alternative splicing that greatly enhances their functional diversity in excitable cells. Here, we characterized novel splice variants of the cytoplasmic C-terminal domain of Cav1.4 Ca(2+) channels that regulate neurotransmitter release in photoreceptors in the retina. These variants lack a portion of exon 45 and/or the entire exon 47 (Cav1.4Δex p45, Cav1.4Δex 47, Cav1.4Δex p45,47) and are expressed in the retina of primates but not mice. Although the electrophysiological properties of Cav1.4Δex p45 are similar to those of full-length channels (Cav1.4FL), skipping of exon 47 dramatically alters Cav1.4 function. Deletion of exon 47 removes part of a C-terminal automodulatory domain (CTM) previously shown to suppress Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation (CDI) and to cause a positive shift in the voltage dependence of channel activation. Exon 47 is crucial for these effects of the CTM because variants lacking this exon show intense CDI and activate at more hyperpolarized voltages than Cav1.4FL The robust CDI of Cav1.4Δex 47 is suppressed by CaBP4, a regulator of Cav1.4 channels in photoreceptors. Although CaBP4 enhances activation of Cav1.4FL, Cav1.4Δex 47 shows similar voltage-dependent activation in the presence and absence of CaBP4. We conclude that exon 47 encodes structural determinants that regulate CDI and voltage-dependent activation of Cav1.4, and is necessary for modulation of channel activation by CaBP4.
Keywords: calcium channel; calcium-binding protein; electrophysiology; photoreceptor; retina.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.