Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 21470676
Cell Calcium 2011 Apr;49(4):272-8
In slow-channel congenital myasthenic syndrome, point mutations of the endplate acetylcholine receptor (AChR) prolong channel openings, leading to excessive Ca(2+) entry with ensuing endplate degeneration and myasthenic symptoms. The Ca(2+) permeability of the human endplate AChR-channel is quite high, and is further increased by two slow-channel mutations in its ɛ subunit, worsening the pathological cascade. To gain further support to the hypothesis that the ɛ subunit plays a crucial role in controlling Ca(2+) permeability of endplate AChR-channel, in this work we measured the fractional Ca(2+) current (P(f), i.e., the percentage of the total current carried by Ca(2+) ions) of a panel of AChR carrying slow-channel mutations in the α, β and ɛ subunits detected in patients (α(N217K), α(S226Y), α(C418W), β(V266A), β(V266M), ɛ(I257F), ɛ(V265A) and ɛ(L269F)). We confirm that only mutations in the ɛ subunit altered Ca(2+) permeability of AChR-channels, with ɛ(L269F) increasing P(f) (10% vs. 7% of wild type AChR) and ɛ(I257F) decreasing it (to 4.6%). We also found that, for ɛ(L269F)-AChR, the Ca(2+) permeability and ACh-induced cell death can be normalized by clinically relevant concentrations of salbutamol or verapamil, providing the first evidence that the Ca(2+) permeability of AChR-channels can be modulated and this treatment may provide protection against excitotoxic insults.