Identification of an alpha subunit of dihydropyridine-sensitive brain calcium channels

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Science  03 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4797, pp. 88-91
DOI: 10.1126/science.2436296


Voltage-sensitive calcium channels in different tissues have diverse functional properties. Polyclonal antibodies (PAC-2) against the alpha subunits of purified rabbit skeletal muscle calcium channels immunoprecipitated calcium channels labeled with the dihydropyridine PN200-110 from both skeletal muscle and brain. The immunoreactivity of PAC-2 with the skeletal muscle channel was greater than that with the brain calcium channel and was absorbed only partially by prior treatment with the brain channel. PAC-2 specifically recognized a large peptide in synaptic plasma membranes of rabbit brain with an apparent molecular size of 169,000 daltons. This protein resembles an alpha subunit of the skeletal muscle calcium channel in apparent molecular weight, antigenic properties, and electrophoretic behavior after reduction of disulfide bonds. Thus, the dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channel of rabbit brain has an alpha subunit that is homologous, but not identical, to those of the skeletal muscle calcium channel. The different functional properties of these two calcium channels may result from minor variations in structurally similar components.