α2δ-4 and Cachd1 Proteins Are Regulators of Presynaptic Functions

Cornelia Ablinger, Clarissa Eibl, Stefanie M. Geisler, Marta Campiglio, Gary J. Stephens, Markus Missler, Gerald J. Obermair

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

Abstract

The α 2δ auxiliary subunits of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC) were traditionally regarded as modulators of biophysical channel properties. In recent years, channel-independent functions of these subunits, such as involvement in synapse formation, have been identified. In the central nervous system, α 2δ isoforms 1, 2, and 3 are strongly expressed, regulating glutamatergic synapse formation by a presynaptic mechanism. Although the α 2δ-4 isoform is predominantly found in the retina with very little expression in the brain, it was recently linked to brain functions. In contrast, Cachd1, a novel α 2δ-like protein, shows strong expression in brain, but its function in neurons is not yet known. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the presynaptic functions of α 2δ-4 and Cachd1 by expressing individual proteins in cultured hippocampal neurons. Both α 2δ-4 and Cachd1 are expressed in the presynaptic membrane and could rescue a severe synaptic defect present in triple knockout/knockdown neurons that lacked the α 2δ-1-3 isoforms (α 2δ TKO/KD). This observation suggests that presynaptic localization and the regulation of synapse formation in glutamatergic neurons is a general feature of α 2δ proteins. In contrast to this redundant presynaptic function, α 2δ-4 and Cachd1 differentially regulate the abundance of presynaptic calcium channels and the amplitude of presynaptic calcium transients. These functional differences may be caused by subtle isoform-specific differences in α 1-α 2δ protein-protein interactions, as revealed by structural homology modelling. Taken together, our study identifies both α 2δ-4 and Cachd1 as presynaptic regulators of synapse formation, differentiation, and calcium channel functions that can at least partially compensate for the loss of α 2δ-1-3. Moreover, we show that regulating glutamatergic synapse formation and differentiation is a critical and surprisingly redundant function of α 2δ and Cachd1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9885
Pages (from-to)9885
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume23
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

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