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1.  ClC-3 Is an Intracellular Chloride/Proton Exchanger with Large Voltage-Dependent Nonlinear Capacitance 
ACS Chemical Neuroscience  2013;4(6):994-1003.
The chloride/proton exchangers ClC-3, ClC-4 and ClC-5 are localized in distinct intracellular compartments and regulate their luminal acidity. We used electrophysiology combined with fluorescence pH measurements to compare the functions of these three transporters. Since the expression of WT ClC-3 in the surface membrane was negligible, we removed an N-terminal retention signal for standard electrophysiological characterization of this isoform. This construct (ClC-313–19A) mediated outwardly rectifying coupled Cl–/H+ antiport resembling the properties of ClC-4 and ClC-5. In addition, ClC-3 exhibited large electric capacitance, exceeding the nonlinear capacitances of ClC-4 and ClC-5. Mutations of the proton glutamate, a conserved residue at the internal side of the protein, decreased ion transport but increased nonlinear capacitances in all three isoforms. This suggests that nonlinear capacitances in mammalian ClC transporters are regulated in a similar manner. However, the voltage dependence and the amplitudes of these capacitances differed strongly between the investigated isoforms. Our results indicate that ClC-3 is specialized in mainly performing incomplete capacitive nontransporting cycles, that ClC-4 is an effective coupled transporter, and that ClC-5 displays an intermediate phenotype. Mathematical modeling showed that such functional differences would allow differential regulation of luminal acidification and chloride concentration in intracellular compartments.
PMCID: PMC3689194  PMID: 23509947
ClC transport; ClC-3; nonlinear capacitance; synaptic acidification; endocytosis; gating currents
2.  Involvement of ClC-3 chloride/proton exchangers in controlling glutamatergic synaptic strength in cultured hippocampal neurons 
ClC-3 is a member of the CLC family of anion channels and transporters that localizes to early and late endosomes as well as to synaptic vesicles (SV). Its genetic disruption in mouse models results in pronounced hippocampal and retinal neurodegeneration, suggesting that ClC-3 might be important for normal excitatory and/or inhibitory neurotransmission in central neurons. To characterize the role of ClC-3 in glutamate accumulation in SV we compared glutamatergic synaptic transmission in cultured hippocampal neurons from WT and Clcn3-/- mice. In Clcn3-/- neurons the amplitude and frequency of miniature as well as the amplitudes of action-potential evoked EPSCs were significantly increased as compared to WT neurons. The low-affinity competitive AMPA receptor antagonist γ-DGG reduced the quantal size of synaptic events more effectively in WT than in Clcn3-/- neurons, whereas no difference was observed for the high-affinity competitive non-NMDA antagonist NBQX. Paired pulse ratios of evoked EPSCs were significantly reduced, whereas the size of the readily releasable pool was not affected by the genetic ablation of ClC-3. Electron microscopy revealed increased volumes of SV in hippocampi of Clcn3-/- mice. Our findings demonstrate that ClC-3 controls fast excitatory synaptic transmission by regulating the amount of neurotransmitter as well as the release probability of SV. These results provide novel insights into the role of ClC-3 in synaptic transmission and identify excessive glutamate release as a likely basis of neurodegeneration in Clcn3-/-.
PMCID: PMC4033211  PMID: 24904288
ClC-3; mEPSC; EPSC; γ-DGG; neurons
3.  ClC1 chloride channel in myotonic dystrophy type 2 and ClC1 splicing in vitro 
Acta Myologica  2012;31(2):144-153.
Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is caused by CCTG-repeat expansions. Occurrence of splicing and mutations in the muscle chloride channel gene CLCN1 have been reported to contribute to the phenotype. To examine the effect of CLCN1 in DM2 in Germany, we determined the frequency of a representative ClC1 mutation, R894X, and its effect on DM2 clinical features. Then, we examined CLCN1 mRNA splice variants in patient muscle functionally expressed the most abundant variant, and determined its subcellular localization. Finally, we established a cellular system for studying mouse clcn1 pre-mRNA splicing and tested effects of expression of (CCUG)18, (CUG)24 and (AAG)24 RNAs. The R894X mutation was present in 7.7% of DM2 families. DM2 R894X-carriers had more myotonia and myalgia than non-carriers. The most abundant CLCN1 splice variant in DM2 (80% of all transcripts) excluded exons 6-7 and lead to a truncated ClC1236X protein. Heterologous ClC1236X expression did not yield functional channels. Co-expression with ClC1 did not show a dominant negative effect, but a slightly suppressive effect. In C2C12 cells, the clc1 splice variants generated by (CCUG)18-RNA resembled those in DM2 muscle and differed from those generated by (CUG)24 and (AAG)24. We conclude that ClC1 mutations exert gene dose effects and enhance myotonia and pain in DM2 in Germany. Additionally, the ClC1236X splice variant may contribute to myotonia in DM2. Since splice variants depend on the types of repeats expressed in the cellular C2C12 model, similar cell models of other tissues may be useful for studying repeatdependent pathogenetic mechanisms more easily than in transgenic animals.
PMCID: PMC3476861  PMID: 23097607
PROMM; myotonic dystrophy; chloride channel
4.  Channel-like slippage modes in the human anion/proton exchanger ClC-4 
The Journal of General Physiology  2009;133(5):485-496.
The ClC family encompasses two classes of proteins with distinct transport functions: anion channels and transporters. ClC-type transporters usually mediate secondary active anion–proton exchange. However, under certain conditions they assume slippage mode behavior in which proton and anion transport are uncoupled, resulting in passive anion fluxes without associated proton movements. Here, we use patch clamp and intracellular pH recordings on transfected mammalian cells to characterize exchanger and slippage modes of human ClC-4, a member of the ClC transporter branch. We found that the two transport modes differ in transport mechanisms and transport rates. Nonstationary noise analysis revealed a unitary transport rate of 5 × 105 s−1 at +150 mV for the slippage mode, indicating that ClC-4 functions as channel in this mode. In the exchanger mode, unitary transport rates were 10-fold lower. Both ClC-4 transport modes exhibit voltage-dependent gating, indicating that there are active and non-active states for the exchanger as well as for the slippage mode. ClC-4 can assume both transport modes under all tested conditions, with exchanger/channel ratios determined by the external anion. We propose that binding of transported anions to non-active states causes transition from slippage into exchanger mode. Binding and unbinding of anions is very rapid, and slower transitions of liganded and non-liganded states into active conformations result in a stable distribution between the two transport modes. The proposed mechanism results in anion-dependent conversion of ClC-type exchanger into an anion channel with typical attributes of ClC anion channels.
PMCID: PMC2712972  PMID: 19364886

Results 1-4 (4)