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Voltage-gated Ca2+ channels participate in dendritic integration, yet functional properties of Ca2+ channels and mechanisms of their modulation by neurotransmitters in dendrites are unknown. Here we report how pharmacologically identified Ca2+ channels behave in different neural compartments. Whole-cell and cell-attached patch-clamp recordings were made on both cell bodies and electrically isolated dendrites of sympathetic neurons. We found not only that Ca2+ channel populations differentially contribute to somatic and dendritic currents but also that families of Ca2+ channels display gating properties and neurotransmitter modulation that depend on channel compartmentalization. By comparison with their somatic counterparts, dendritic N-type Ca2+ currents were hypersensitive to neurotransmitters and G proteins. Single-channel analysis showed that dendrites express a unique N-type channel that has enhanced interaction with Gbetagamma. Thus Ca2+ channels in dendrites seem to be specialized elements with unique regulatory mechanisms.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





670 - 678


Animals, Calcium Channels, N-Type, Cells, Cultured, Dendrites, GTP-Binding Proteins, Ion Channel Gating, Kinetics, Membrane Potentials, Neurites, Neurons, Neurotransmitter Agents, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Rats, Superior Cervical Ganglion