Indexed on: 08 Sep '11Published on: 08 Sep '11Published in: Journal of Cellular Physiology
Voltage-dependent calcium channels are widely distributed in animal cells, including spermatozoa. Calcium is fundamental in many sperm functions such as: motility, capacitation, and the acrosome reaction (AR), all essential for fertilization. Pharmacological evidence has suggested T-type calcium channels participate in the AR. Niflumic acid (NA), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used as chloride channel blocker, blocks T-currents in mouse spermatogenic cells and Cl(-) channels in testicular sperm. Here we examine the mechanism of NA blockade and explore if it can be used to separate the contribution of different Ca(V)3 members previously detected in these cells. Electrophysiological patch-clamp recordings were performed in isolated mouse spermatogenic cells and in HEK cells heterologously expressing Ca(V)3 channels. NA blocks mouse spermatogenic cell T-type currents with an IC(50) of 73.5 µM, without major voltage-dependent effects. The NA blockade is more potent in the open and in the inactivated state than in the closed state of the T-type channels. Interestingly, we found that heterologously expressed Ca(V)3.1 and Ca(V)3.3 channels were more sensitive to NA than Ca(V)3.2 channels, and this drug substantially slowed the recovery from inactivation of the three isoforms. Molecular docking modeling of drug-channel binding predicts that NA binds preferentially to the extracellular face of Ca(V)3.1 channels. The biophysical characteristics of mouse spermatogenic cell T-type currents more closely resemble those from heterologously expressed Ca(V)3.1 channels, including their sensitivity to NA. As Ca(V)3.1 null mice maintain their spermatogenic cell T-currents, it is likely that a novel Ca(V)3.2 isoform is responsible for them.
Indexed on: 12 May '04
Published on: 12 May '04 in Journal of Cellular Physiology