Although the structure of rabbit skeletal muscle dihydropyridine (DHP) receptor, deduced from cDNA sequence, indicates that this protein is the channel-forming subunit of voltage-dependent calcium channel (VDCC), no functional proof for this prediction has been presented. Two DNA oligonucleotides complementary to DHP-receptor RNA sequences coding for putative membrane-spanning regions of the DHP receptor specifically suppress the expression of the DHP-sensitive VDCC from rabbit and rat heart in Xenopus oocytes. However, these oligonucleotides do not suppress the expression of the DHP-insensitive VDCC and of voltage-dependent sodium and potassium channels. Thus, the gene for DHP receptor of rabbit skeletal muscle is closely related, or identical to, a gene expressed in heart that encodes a component of the DHP-sensitive VDCC The DHP-sensitive and DHP-insensitive VDCCs are distinct molecular entities.
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