Year of Publication

2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Douglas A. Andres

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter. H. Spielmann

Abstract

The Rem, Rem2, Rad, and Gem/Kir GTPases, comprise a novel subfamily of the small Ras-related GTP-binding proteins known as the RGK GTPases, and have been shown to function as potent negative regulators of high voltage-activated (HVA) Ca2+ channels upon overexpression. HVA Ca2+ channels modulate Ca2+ influx in response to membrane depolarization to regulate a wide variety of cellular functions and they minimally consist of a pore-forming α1 subunit, an intracellular β subunit, and a transmembrane complex α2/δ subunit. While the mechanisms underlying RGK-mediated Ca2+ channel regulation remain poorly defined, it appears that both membrane localization and the binding of accessory Ca2+ channel β subunits (CaVβ) are required for suppression of Ca2+ channel currents. We identified a direct interaction between Rem and the L-type Cavα1 C-terminus (CCT), but not the CCT from CaV3.2 T-type channels. Deletion mapping studies suggest that the conserved CB-IQ domain is required for Rem:CCT association, a region known to contribute to both Ca2+-dependent channel inactivation and facilitation through interactions of Ca2+-bound calmodulin (CaM) with the proximal CCT. Furthermore, both Rem2 and Rad GTPases display similar patterns of CCT binding, suggesting that CCT represents a common binding partner for all RGK proteins. While previous studies have found that association of the Rem C-terminus with the plasma membrane is required for channel inhibition, it is not required for CaVβ- subunit binding. However, Rem:CCT association is well correlated with the plasma membrane localization of Rem and more importantly, Rem-mediated channel inhibition upon overexpression. Moreover, co-expression of the proximal CB-IQ containing region of CCT (residues 1507-1669) in HIT-T15 cells partially relieves Rem blockade of ionic current. Interestingly, Ca2+/CaM disrupts Rem:CCT association in vitro. Moreover, CaM overexpression partially relieves Rem-mediated L-type Ca2+ channel inhibition and Rem overexpression alters the kinetics of calcium-dependent inactivation. Together, these data suggest that the association of Rem with the CCT represents a crucial molecular determinant for Rem-mediated L-type Ca2+ channel regulation and provides new insights into this novel channel regulatory process. These studies also suggest that instead of acting as complete Ca2+ channel blockers, RGK proteins may function as endogenous regulators for the channel inactivation machinery.

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