CaV1.3 as pacemaker channels in adrenal chromaffin cells: Specific role on exo- and endocytosis?

Valentina Comunanza, Andrea Marcantoni, David H. Vandael, Satyajit Mahapatra, Daniela Gavello, Victor Navarro-Tableros, Valentina Carabelli, Emilio Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Voltage-gated L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) are expressed in adrenal chromaffin cells. Besides shaping the action potential (AP), LTCCs are involved in the excitation-secretion coupling controlling catecholamine release and in Ca2+-dependent vesicle retrieval. Of the two LTCCs expressed in chromaffin cells (CaV1.2 and CaV1.3), CaV1.3 possesses the prerequisites for pacemaking spontaneously firing cells: low-threshold, steep voltage-dependence of activation and slow inactivation. By using CaV1.3-/- KO mice and the AP-clamp it has been possible to resolve the time course of CaV1.3 pacemaker currents, which is similar to that regulating Substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons. In mouse chromaffin cells CaV1.3 is coupled to fast-inactivating BK channels within membrane nanodomains and controls AP repolarization. The ability to carry subthreshold Ca2+ currents and activate BK channels confers to CaV1.3 the unique feature of driving Ca2+ loading during long interspike intervals and, possibly, to control the Ca 2+-dependent exocytosis and endocytosis processes that regulate catecholamine secretion and vesicle recycling.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Action potential firing
  • BK channels
  • Ca-dependent secretion
  • cAMP
  • cGMP
  • Hypoxia
  • L-type calcium channels
  • Pacemaking currents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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