T-type Ca2+ currents have been detected in cells from the external muscular layers of gastrointestinal smooth muscles and appear to contribute to the generation of pacemaker potentials in interstitial cells of Cajal from those tissues. However, the Ca2+ channel subunit responsible for these currents has not been determined. We established that the α subunit of the α1H Ca2+ channel is expressed in single myocytes and interstitial cells of Cajal using reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction from whole tissue, laser capture microdissected tissue and single cells isolated from the mouse jejunum. Whole-cell voltage clamp recordings demonstrated that a nifedipine and Cd2+ resistant, mibefradil-sensitive current is present in myocytes dissociated from the jejunum. Electrical recordings from the circular muscle layer demonstrated that mibefradil reduced the frequency and initial rate of rise of the electrical slow wave. Gene targeted knockout of both alleles of the cacna1h gene, which encodes the α 1H Ca2+ channel subunit, resulted in embryonic lethality because of death of the homozygous knockouts prior to E13.5 days in utero. We conclude that a channel with the pharmacological and molecular characteristics of the α 1H Ca2+ channel subunit is expressed in interstitial cells of Cajal and myocytes from the mouse jejunum, and that ionic conductances through the α 1H Ca2+ channel contribute to the upstroke of the pacemaker potential. Furthermore, the survival of mice that do not express the α 1H Ca2+ channel protein is dependent on the genetic background and targeting approach used to generate the knockout mice.
Gibbons, Simon J.; Strege, Peter R.; Lei, Sha; Roeder, Jaime L.; Mazzone, Amelia; Ou, Yijun; Rich, Adam; and Farrugia, Gianrico, "The α 1H Ca2+ channel subunit is expressed in mouse jejunal interstitial cells of Cajal and myocytes" (2009). Biology Faculty Publications. 4.
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