Molecular Determinants of High Affinity Phenylalkylamine Block of l-type Calcium Channels in Transmembrane Segment IIIS6 and the Pore Region of the α1Subunit*

  1. William A. Catterall§
  1. From the Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7280


Recent studies of the phenylalkylamine binding site in the α1C subunit of l-type Ca2+ channels have revealed three amino acid residues in transmembrane segment IVS6 that are critical for high affinity block and are unique to l-type channels. We have extended this analysis of the phenylalkylamine binding site to amino acid residues in transmembrane segment IIIS6 and the pore region. Twenty-two consecutive amino acid residues in segment IIIS6 were mutated to alanine and the conserved Glu residues in the pore region of each homologous domain were mutated to Gln. Mutant channels were expressed in tsA-201 cells along with the β1b and α2δ auxiliary subunits. Assay for block of Ba2+ current by (−)-D888 at −60 mV revealed that mutation of five amino acid residues in segment IIIS6 and the pore region that are conserved between l-type and non-l-type channels (Tyr1152, Phe1164, Val1165, Glu1118, and Glu1419) and one l-type-specific amino acid (Ile1153) decreased affinity for (−)-D888 from 10–20-fold. Combination of the four mutations in segment IIIS6 increased the IC50 for block by (−)-D888 to approximately 9 μm, similar to the affinity of non-l-type Ca2+ channels for this drug. These results indicate that there are important determinants of phenylalkylamine binding in both the S6 segments and the pore regions of domains III and IV, some of which are conserved across the different classes of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. A model of the phenylalkylamine receptor site at the interface between domains III and IV of the α1 subunit is presented.

  • Received March 14, 1997.
  • Revision received May 15, 1997.
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