GSBS Student Publications

Chronic ethanol exposure induces an N-type calcium channel splice variant with altered channel kinetics

Philip M. Newton, University of California at San Francisco
Keith Tully, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Thomas McMahon, University of California at San Francisco
Jacklyn Connolly, University of California at San Francisco
Jahan Dadgar, University of California at San Francisco
Steven N. Treistman, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Robert O. Messing, University of California at San Francisco

Document Type Article

Abstract

Chronic ethanol exposure increases the density of N-type calcium channels in brain. We report that ethanol increases levels of mRNA for a splice variant of the N channel specific subunit alpha1 2.2 that lacks exon 31a. Whole cell recordings demonstrated an increase in N-type current with a faster activation rate and a shift in activation to more negative potentials after chronic alcohol exposure, consistent with increased abundance of channels containing this variant. These results identify a novel mechanism whereby chronic ethanol exposure can increase neuronal excitability by altering levels of channel splice variants.