Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 429, Issue 5, pp 699–707 | Cite as

Enhancement of an L-type calcium current in AtT-20 cells; a novel effect of the m4 muscarinic receptor

  • Karen E. Pemberton
  • S. V. Penelope Jones
Original Article Molecular and Cellular Physiology


Activation of muscarinic receptors has been shown to inhibit L-type calcium conductances by mechanisms sensitive to pertussis toxin (PTX). In this study we show that agonist stimulation of the m4 muscarinic receptor leads to an increase in an L-type calcium conductance in the AtT-20 pituitary cell line, by a PTX-sensitive mechanism. The amplitude of the dihydropyridine (DHP)-sensitive or L-type calcium current was increased by acetylcholine (ACh), with no shift in the voltage dependence. This action of ACh was completely inhibited by PTX pre-treatment. Forskolin, cAMP and phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate reduced, while RpcAMPs, an inhibitor of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), increased the L-type calcium conductance. We propose that the m4 muscarinic receptor activates the L-type calcium channel by inhibition of adenylyl cyclase resulting in reduced cAMP levels and, hence, reduced PKA activity. This novel increase in calcium current via the m4 muscarinic receptor appears to reflect the coupling with an L-type channel of the D class, due to the sensitivity of the L-type calcium conductance to both DHPs and ω-conotoxin, and, thus, is distinct from the skeletal muscle and cardiac L-type channels of the C class previously studied.

Key words

Muscarinic receptor L-Type calcium current Second messenger Protein kinase A Patch clamp Calcium channel cAMP 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen E. Pemberton
    • 1
  • S. V. Penelope Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Molecular Neuropharmacology, Departments of Psychiatry and Molecular Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA

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