, Volume 460, Issue 2, pp 375-393
Date: 04 Mar 2010

CaV2.1 channelopathies

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Mutations in the CACNA1A gene that encodes the pore-forming α1 subunit of human voltage-gated CaV2.1 (P/Q-type) Ca2+ channels cause several autosomal-dominant neurologic disorders, including familial hemiplegic migraine type 1 (FHM1), episodic ataxia type 2, and spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6). For each channelopathy, the review describes the disease phenotype as well as the functional consequences of the disease-causing mutations on recombinant human CaV2.1 channels and, in the case of FHM1 and SCA6, on neuronal CaV2.1 channels expressed at the endogenous physiological level in knockin mouse models. The effects of FHM1 mutations on cortical spreading depression, the phenomenon underlying migraine aura, and on cortical excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission in FHM1 knockin mice are also described, and their implications for the disease mechanism discussed. Moreover, the review describes different ataxic spontaneous cacna1a mouse mutants and the important insights into the cerebellar mechanisms underlying motor dysfunction caused by mutant CaV2.1 channels that were obtained from their functional characterization.