Calcium channel gating and modulation by transmitters depend on cellular compartmentalization.
Delmas P., Abogadie FC., Buckley NJ., Brown DA.
Voltage-gated Ca2+ channels participate in dendritic integration, yet functional properties of Ca2+ channels and mechanisms of their modulation by neurotransmitters in dendrites are unknown. Here we report how pharmacologically identified Ca2+ channels behave in different neural compartments. Whole-cell and cell-attached patch-clamp recordings were made on both cell bodies and electrically isolated dendrites of sympathetic neurons. We found not only that Ca2+ channel populations differentially contribute to somatic and dendritic currents but also that families of Ca2+ channels display gating properties and neurotransmitter modulation that depend on channel compartmentalization. By comparison with their somatic counterparts, dendritic N-type Ca2+ currents were hypersensitive to neurotransmitters and G proteins. Single-channel analysis showed that dendrites express a unique N-type channel that has enhanced interaction with Gbetagamma. Thus Ca2+ channels in dendrites seem to be specialized elements with unique regulatory mechanisms.