• Diverse mechanisms underlying the regulation of ion channels by carbon monoxide

      Peers, C.; Boyle, J.P.; Scragg, J.L.; Dallas, M.L.; Al-Owais, M.M.; Hettiarachichi, N.T.; Elies, Jacobo; Johnson, E.; Gamper, N.; Steele, D.S. (2015-03)
      Carbon monoxide (CO) is firmly established as an important, physiological signalling molecule as well as a potent toxin. Through its ability to bind metal-containing proteins, it is known to interfere with a number of intracellular signalling pathways, and such actions can account for its physiological and pathological effects. In particular, CO can modulate the intracellular production of reactive oxygen species, NO and cGMP levels, as well as regulate MAPK signalling. In this review, we consider ion channels as more recently discovered effectors of CO signalling. CO is now known to regulate a growing number of different ion channel types, and detailed studies of the underlying mechanisms of action are revealing unexpected findings. For example, there are clear areas of contention surrounding its ability to increase the activity of high conductance, Ca2+-sensitive K+ channels. More recent studies have revealed the ability of CO to inhibit T-type Ca2+ channels and have unveiled a novel signalling pathway underlying tonic regulation of this channel. It is clear that the investigation of ion channels as effectors of CO signalling is in its infancy, and much more work is required to fully understand both the physiological and the toxic actions of this gas. Only then can its emerging use as a therapeutic tool be fully and safely exploited.
    • Heme oxygenase-1 regulates cell proliferation via carbon monoxide-mediated inhibition of T-type Ca2+ channels

      Duckles, H.; Boycott, H.E.; Al-Owais, M.M.; Elies, Jacobo; Johnson, E.; Dallas, M.L.; Porter, K.E.; Giuntini, F.; Boyle, J.P.; Scragg, J.L.; et al. (2015-02)
      Induction of the antioxidant enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) affords cellular protection and suppresses proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) associated with a variety of pathological cardiovascular conditions including myocardial infarction and vascular injury. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Over-expression of Cav3.2 T-type Ca2+ channels in HEK293 cells raised basal [Ca2+]i and increased proliferation as compared with non-transfected cells. Proliferation and [Ca2+]i levels were reduced to levels seen in non-transfected cells either by induction of HO-1 or exposure of cells to the HO-1 product, carbon monoxide (CO) (applied as the CO releasing molecule, CORM-3). In the aortic VSMC line A7r5, proliferation was also inhibited by induction of HO-1 or by exposure of cells to CO, and patch-clamp recordings indicated that CO inhibited T-type (as well as L-type) Ca2+ currents in these cells. Finally, in human saphenous vein smooth muscle cells, proliferation was reduced by T-type channel inhibition or by HO-1 induction or CO exposure. The effects of T-type channel blockade and HO-1 induction were non-additive. Collectively, these data indicate that HO-1 regulates proliferation via CO-mediated inhibition of T-type Ca2+ channels. This signalling pathway provides a novel means by which proliferation of VSMCs (and other cells) may be regulated therapeutically.
    • Hydrogen sulfide inhibits Cav3.2 T-type Ca2 channels

      Elies, Jacobo; Scragg, J.L.; Huang, S.; Dallas, M.L.; Huang, D.; MacDougall, D.; Boyle, J.P.; Gamper, N.; Peers, C. (2014-12)
      The importance of H2S as a physiological signaling molecule continues to develop, and ion channels are emerging as a major family of target proteins through which H2S exerts many actions. The purpose of the present study was to investigate its effects on T-type Ca2+ channels. Using patch-clamp electrophysiology, we demonstrate that the H2S donor, NaHS (10 μM−1 mM) selectively inhibits Cav3.2 T-type channels heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells, whereas Cav3.1 and Cav3.3 channels were unaffected. The sensitivity of Cav3.2 channels to H2S required the presence of the redox-sensitive extracellular residue H191, which is also required for tonic binding of Zn2+ to this channel. Chelation of Zn2+ with N,N,N′,N′-tetra-2-picolylethylenediamine prevented channel inhibition by H2S and also reversed H2S inhibition when applied after H2S exposure, suggesting that H2S may act via increasing the affinity of the channel for extracellular Zn2+ binding. Inhibition of native T-type channels in 3 cell lines correlated with expression of Cav3.2 and not Cav3.1 channels. Notably, H2S also inhibited native T-type (primarily Cav3.2) channels in sensory dorsal root ganglion neurons. Our data demonstrate a novel target for H2S regulation, the T-type Ca2+ channel Cav3.2, and suggest that such modulation cannot account for the pronociceptive effects of this gasotransmitter.
    • Inhibition of T-type Ca2+ channels by hydrogen sulfide

      Elies, Jacobo; Scragg, J.L.; Dallas, M.L.; Huang, D.; Huang, S.; Boyle, J.P.; Gamper, N.; Peers, C. (2015)
      T-type Ca2+ channels are a distinct family of low voltage-activated Ca2+ channels which serve many roles in different tissues. Several studies have implicated them, for example, in the adaptive responses to chronic hypoxia in the cardiovascular and endocrine systems. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) was more recently discovered as an important signalling molecule involved in many functions, including O2 sensing. Since ion channels are emerging as an important family of target proteins for modulation by H2S, and both T-type Ca2+ channels and H2S are involved in cellular responses to hypoxia, we have investigated whether recombinant and native T-type Ca2+ channels are a target for modulation by H2S. Using patch-clamp electrophysiology, we demonstrate that the H2S donor, NaHS, selectively inhibits Cav3.2 T-type Ca2+ channels heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells, whilst Cav3.1 and Cav3.3 channels were unaffected. Sensitivity of Cav3.2 channels to H2S required the presence of the redox-sensitive extracellular residue H191, which is also required for tonic binding of Zn2+ to this channel. Chelation of Zn2+ using TPEN prevented channel inhibition by H2S. H2S also selectively inhibited native T-type channels (primarily Cav3.2) in sensory dorsal root ganglion neurons. Our data demonstrate a novel target for H2S regulation, the T-type Ca2+ channel Cav3.2. Results have important implications for the proposed pro-nociceptive effects of this gasotransmitter. Implications for the control of cellular responses to hypoxia await further study.
    • Inhibition of the cardiac Na+ channel Nav1.5 by carbon monoxide

      Elies, Jacobo; Dallas, M.L.; Boyle, J.P.; Scragg, J.L.; Duke, A.; Steele, D.S.; Peers, C. (2014-06)
      Sublethal carbon monoxide (CO) exposure is frequently associated with myocardial arrhythmias, and our recent studies have demonstrated that these may be attributable to modulation of cardiac Na+ channels, causing an increase in the late current and an inhibition of the peak current. Using a recombinant expression system, we demonstrate that CO inhibits peak human Nav1.5 current amplitude without activation of the late Na+ current observed in native tissue. Inhibition was associated with a hyperpolarizing shift in the steady-state inactivation properties of the channels and was unaffected by modification of channel gating induced by anemone toxin (rATX-II). Systematic pharmacological assessment indicated that no recognized CO-sensitive intracellular signaling pathways appeared to mediate CO inhibition of Nav1.5. Inhibition was, however, markedly suppressed by inhibition of NO formation, but NO donors did not mimic or occlude channel inhibition by CO, indicating that NO alone did not account for the actions of CO. Exposure of cells to DTT immediately before CO exposure also dramatically reduced the magnitude of current inhibition. Similarly, L-cysteine and N-ethylmaleimide significantly attenuated the inhibition caused by CO. In the presence of DTT and the NO inhibitor Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride, the ability of CO to inhibit Nav1.5 was almost fully prevented. Our data indicate that inhibition of peak Na+ current (which can lead to Brugada syndrome-like arrhythmias) occurs via a mechanism distinct from induction of the late current, requires NO formation, and is dependent on channel redox state.
    • T-type Ca2+ channel regulation by CO: a mechanism for control of cell proliferation

      Duckles, H.; Al-Owais, M.M.; Elies, Jacobo; Johnson, E.; Boycott, H.E.; Dallas, M.L.; Porter, K.E.; Boyle, J.P.; Scragg, J.L.; Peers, C. (2015)
      T-type Ca2+ channels regulate proliferation in a number of tissue types, including vascular smooth muscle and various cancers. In such tissues, up-regulation of the inducible enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is often observed, and hypoxia is a key factor in its induction. HO-1 degrades heme to generate carbon monoxide (CO) along with Fe2+ and biliverdin. Since CO is increasingly recognized as a regulator of ion channels (Peers et al. 2015), we have explored the possibility that it may regulate proliferation via modulation of T-type Ca2+ channels. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings revealed that CO (applied as the dissolved gas or via CORM donors) inhibited all 3 isoforms of T-type Ca2+ channels (Cav3.1-3.3) when expressed in HEK293 cells with similar IC50 values, and induction of HO-1 expression also suppressed T-type currents (Boycott et al. 2013). CO/HO-1 induction also suppressed the elevated basal [Ca2+ ]i in cells expressing these channels and reduced their proliferative rate to levels seen in non-transfected control cells (Duckles et al. 2015). Proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (both A7r5 and human saphenous vein cells) was also suppressed either by T-type Ca2+ channel inhibitors (mibefradil and NNC 55-0396), HO-1 induction or application of CO. Effects of these blockers and CO were non additive. Although L-type Ca2+ channels were also sensitive to CO (Scragg et al. 2008), they did not influence proliferation. Our data suggest that HO-1 acts to control proliferation via CO modulation of T-type Ca2+ channels.