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PLOS ONE  2007 

Increased Expression of the Auxiliary β2-subunit of Ventricular L-type Ca2+ Channels Leads to Single-Channel Activity Characteristic of Heart Failure

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000292

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Background Increased activity of single ventricular L-type Ca2+-channels (L-VDCC) is a hallmark in human heart failure. Recent findings suggest differential modulation by several auxiliary β-subunits as a possible explanation. Methods and Results By molecular and functional analyses of human and murine ventricles, we find that enhanced L-VDCC activity is accompanied by altered expression pattern of auxiliary L-VDCC β-subunit gene products. In HEK293-cells we show differential modulation of single L-VDCC activity by coexpression of several human cardiac β-subunits: Unlike β1 or β3 isoforms, β2a and β2b induce a high-activity channel behavior typical of failing myocytes. In accordance, β2-subunit mRNA and protein are up-regulated in failing human myocardium. In a model of heart failure we find that mice overexpressing the human cardiac CaV1.2 also reveal increased single-channel activity and sarcolemmal β2 expression when entering into the maladaptive stage of heart failure. Interestingly, these animals, when still young and non-failing (“Adaptive Phase”), reveal the opposite phenotype, viz: reduced single-channel activity accompanied by lowered β2 expression. Additional evidence for the cause-effect relationship between β2-subunit expression and single L-VDCC activity is provided by newly engineered, double-transgenic mice bearing both constitutive CaV1.2 and inducible β2 cardiac overexpression. Here in non-failing hearts induction of β2-subunit overexpression mimicked the increase of single L-VDCC activity observed in murine and human chronic heart failure. Conclusions Our study presents evidence of the pathobiochemical relevance of β2-subunits for the electrophysiological phenotype of cardiac L-VDCC and thus provides an explanation for the single L-VDCC gating observed in human and murine heart failure.


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