Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program



Microbiology and Physiological Systems

First Thesis Advisor

Ann R. Rittenhouse, PhD


Arachidonic Acid, Receptor, Muscarinic M1, Calcium Channels, L-Type, Receptors, Dopamine D2


Membrane excitability, gene expression, and neurotransmitter release are all controlled by voltage-gated L-type Ca2+ (L- )channels. In turn, Ca2+ channels are highly regulated by signal transduction cascades initiated by G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation. In medium spiny neurons of the striatum, both the muscarinic M1 receptors (M1R) and dopaminergic D2 receptors (D2R) specifically inhibit the Cav1.3 L-channel.

In Chapters III and IV, the pathways downstream of M1Rs and D2Rs are examined to determine whether an overlap or intersection in inhibition of Cav1.3 occurs by these two receptors. Transient transfection of Cav1.3 channels in HEK 293 cells, stably transfected with the M1R, and in ST14A cells were used as model systems. While a further characterization of ST14A cells determined that they exhibit a striatal profile, D2Rs or M1Rs did not inhibit Cav1.3. Lack of current inhibition may be due to the finding of no detectable expression of phospholipase Cβ-1 protein in ST14A cells.

Ca2+ channels are multiprotein complexes comprised of α1, β, and α2δ subunits. While the actions of arachidonic acid (AA) have been shown to mimic M1R inhibition of L-current in superior cervical ganglion neurons, the precise identity of the L-channel in these neurons -either Cav1.2 or Cav1.3 or both- is not known. The transfected model systems allowed for the analysis of whole-cells currents with different β subunit combinations as well as the study of only Cav1.3 channels. In Chapter III, I show that activation of M1Rs with the agonist Oxo-M inhibited Cav1.3 channels coexpressed with either β1b, β2a, β3, or β4 subunits. Surprisingly, the magnitude of Cav1.3, β2a currents was inhibited less than Cav1.3 currents with other β subunits. In Chapter V, AA is shown to mimic the profile of M1R stimulation on Cav1.3 currents. The magnitude of Cav1.3, β2a currents was inhibited less than Cav1.3 currents with other β subunits by AA. This discovery points to a novel role for accessory β subunits in altering the magnitude of AA inhibition and kinetic changes of Cav1.3.

Arachidonic acid (AA) inhibits Ca2+ channels by an unknown mechanism at an unknown site. In Chapter V, I found that Cavl.3 inhibition by AA was state-dependent and most likely stabilizes a closed channel conformation. The finding that the Ca2+ channel accessory β subunit alters the magnitude of AA inhibition and kinetic changes of Cav1.3 suggests that AA could alter processes which rely on L-channels such as Ca2+-dependent gene expression, secretion and membrane excitability.



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