Auxiliary Ca2+ channel β subunits (CaVβ) regulate cellular Ca2+ signaling by trafficking pore-forming α1 subunits to the membrane and normalizing channel gating. These effects are mediated through a characteristic src homology 3/guanylate kinase (SH3-GK) structural module, a design feature shared in common with the membrane-associated guanylate kinase (MAGUK) family of scaffold proteins. However, the mechanisms by which the CaVβ SH3-GK module regulates multiple Ca2+ channel functions are not well understood. Here, using a split-domain approach, we investigated the role of the interrelationship between CaVβ SH3 and GK domains in defining channel properties. The studies build upon a previously identified split-domain pair that displays a trans SH3-GK interaction, and fully reconstitutes Ca Vβ effects on channel trafficking, activation gating, and increased open probability (Po). Here, by varying the precise locations used to separate SH3 and GK domains and monitoring subsequent SH3-GK interactions by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), we identified a particular split-domain pair that displayed a subtly altered configuration of the trans SH3-GK interaction. Remarkably, this pair discriminated between CaVβ trafficking and gating properties: α1C targeting to the membrane was fully reconstituted, whereas shifts in activation gating and increased Po functions were selectively lost. A more extreme case, in which the trans SH3-GK interaction was selectively ablated, yielded a split-domain pair that could reconstitute neither the trafficking nor gating-modulation functions, even though both moieties could independently engage their respective binding sites on the α1C (Ca V1.2) subunit. The results reveal that CaVβ SH3 and GK domains function codependently to tune Ca2+ channel trafficking and gating properties, and suggest new paradigms for physiological and therapeutic regulation of Ca2+ channel activity.
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