The axon/dendrite specification collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP-2) bidirectionally regulates N-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels (CaV2.2). But how cyclin dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5)-mediated phosphorylation of CRMP-2 affects its interaction/regulation with CaV2.2 is unknown. CRMP-2-mediated enhancement of currents via CaV2.2 was not observed with a Cdk5 phospho-null CRMP-2-S522A mutant or in cells expressing an inactive Cdk5. Concomitant knockdown of endogenous CRMP2 and overexpression of CRMP2-S522A mutant refractory to knockdown phenocopied the reduction in Ca(2+) influx while the Rho kinase CRMP2-T555A mutant was ineffective. Cdk5-phosphorylated CRMP-2 had increased association with CaV2.2. These results identify an important role for Cdk5 in CRMP2-mediated CaV2.2 regulation.
Synaptic vesicles (SVs) are triggered to fuse with the surface membrane at the presynaptic transmitter release site (TRSs) core by Ca2+ influx through nearby attached CaV2.2 channels [see accompanying paper: Khanna et al. (2007)Eur. J. Neurosci., 26, 547-559] and are then recovered by endocytosis. In this study we test the hypothesis that the TRS core is linked to an endocytosis-related protein complex. This was tested by immunostaining analysis of the chick ciliary ganglion calyx presynaptic terminal and biochemical analysis of synaptosome lysate, using CaV2.2 as a marker for the TRS. We noted that CaV2.2 clusters abut heavy-chain (H)-clathrin patches at the transmitter release face. Quantitative coimmunostaining analysis (ICA/ICQ method) demonstrated a strong covariance of release-face CaV2.2 staining with that for the AP180 and intersectin endocytosis adaptor proteins, and a moderate covariance with H- or light-chain (L)-clathrin and dynamin coat proteins, consistent with a multimolecular complex. This was supported by coprecipitation of these proteins with CaV2.2 from brain synaptosome lysate. Interestingly, the channel neither colocalized nor coprecipitated with the endocytosis cargo-capturing adaptor AP2, even though this protein both colocalized and coprecipitated with H-clathrin. Fractional recovery analysis of the immunoprecipitated CaV2.2 complex by exposure to high NaCl (approximately 1 m) indicated that AP180 and S-intersectin adaptors are tightly bound to CaV2.2 while L-intersectin, H- and L-clathrin and dynamin form a less tightly linked subcomplex. Our results are consistent with two distinct clathrin endocytosis complexes: an AP2-containing, remote, non-TRS complex and a specialised, AP2-lacking, TRS-associated subcomplex linked via a molecular bridge. The most probable role of this subcomplex is to facilitate SV recovery after transmitter release.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a rare autosomal dominant disease linked to mutations of the Nf1 gene. Patients with NF1 commonly experience severe pain. Studies on mice with Nf1 haploinsufficiency have been instructive in identifying sensitization of ion channels as a possible cause underlying the heightened pain suffered by patients with NF1. However, behavioral assessments of Nf1 mice have led to uncertain conclusions about the potential causal role of Nf1 in pain. We used the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) genome editing system to create and mechanistically characterize a novel rat model of NF1-related pain. Targeted intrathecal delivery of guide RNA/Cas9 nuclease plasmid in combination with a cationic polymer was used to generate allele-specific C-terminal truncation of neurofibromin, the protein encoded by the Nf1 gene. Rats with truncation of neurofibromin, showed increases in voltage-gated calcium (specifically N-type or CaV2.2) and voltage-gated sodium (particularly tetrodotoxin-sensitive) currents in dorsal root ganglion neurons. These gains-of-function resulted in increased nociceptor excitability and behavioral hyperalgesia. The cytosolic regulatory protein collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) regulates activity of these channels, and also binds to the targeted C-terminus of neurofibromin in a tripartite complex, suggesting a possible mechanism underlying NF1 pain. Prevention of CRMP2 phosphorylation with (S)-lacosamide resulted in normalization of channel current densities, excitability, as well as of hyperalgesia following CRISPR/Cas9 truncation of neurofibromin. These studies reveal the protein partners that drive NF1 pain and suggest that CRMP2 is a key target for therapeutic intervention.