Two novel alleles of tottering with distinct Ca(v)2.1 calcium channel neuropathologies

T. Miki, T. A. Zwingman, M. Wakamori, C. M. Lutz, S. A. Cook, D. A. Hosford, K. Herrup, C. F. Fletcher, Y. Mori, W. N. Frankel, V. A. Letts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The calcium channel CACNA1A gene encodes the pore-forming, voltage-sensitive subunit of the voltage-dependent calcium Ca(v)2.1 type channel. Mutations in this gene have been linked to several human disorders, including familial hemiplegic migraine, episodic ataxia 2 and spinocerebellar ataxia type 6. The mouse homologue, Cacna1a, is associated with the tottering, Cacna1atg, mutant series. Here we describe two new missense mutant alleles, Cacna1atg-4J and Cacna1aTg-5J. The Cacna1atg-4J mutation is a valine to alanine mutation at amino acid 581, in segment S5 of domain II. The recessive Cacna1atg-4J mutant exhibited the ataxia, paroxysmal dyskinesia and absence seizures reminiscent of the original tottering mouse. The Cacna1atg-4J mutant also showed altered activation and inactivation kinetics of the Ca(v)2.1 channel, not previously reported for other tottering alleles. The semi-dominant Cacna1aTg-5J mutation changed a conserved arginine residue to glutamine at amino acid 1252 within segment S4 of domain III. The heterozygous mouse was ataxic and homozygotes rarely survived. The Cacna1aTg-5J mutation caused a shift in both voltage activation and inactivation to lower voltages, showing that this arginine residue is critical for sensing Ca(v)2.1 voltage changes. These two tottering mouse models illustrate how novel allelic variants can contribute to functional studies of the Ca(v)2.1 calcium channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 31


  • Ca(v)2.1 calcium channels
  • semi-dominant mutation
  • tottering alleles


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