• expression;
  • FK506;
  • NG108-15 cells;
  • voltage-operated calcium channel


The Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase 2B (PP2B) also known as calcineurin (CN) has been implicated in the Ca2+-dependent inactivation of Ca2+ channels in several cell types. To study the role of calcineurin in the regulation of Ca2+-channel activity, phosphatase expression was altered in NG108-15 cells by transfection of sense and antisense plasmid constructs carrying the catalytic subunit of human PP2Bβ3. Relative to mock-transfected (wild-type) controls, cells overexpressing calcineurin showed dramatically reduced high-voltage-activated Ca2+ currents which were recoverable by the inclusion of 1 μm FK506 in the patch pipette. Conversely, in cells with reduced calcineurin expression, high-voltage-activated Ca2+ currents were larger relative to controls. Additionally in these cells, low-voltage-activated currents were significantly reduced. Analysis of high-voltage-activated Ca2+ currents revealed that the kinetics of inactivation were significantly accelerated in cells overexpressing calcineurin. Following the delivery of a train of depolarizing pulses in experiments designed to produce large-scale Ca2+ influx across the cell membrane, Ca2+-dependent inactivation of high-voltage-activated Ca2+ currents was increased in sense cells, and this increase could be reduced by intracellular application of 1 m m BAPTA or 1 μm FK506. These data support a role of calcineurin in the negative feedback regulation of Ca2+ entry through voltage-operated Ca2+ channels.