The β subunits of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels are best known for their roles in regulating surface expression and gating of voltage-gated Ca2+ channel α1 subunits. Recent evidence, however, indicates that these proteins have a variety of Ca2+ channel-independent functions. For example, on the molecular level, they regulate gene expression, and on the whole animal level, they regulate early cell movements in zebrafish development. In the present study, an alternatively spliced, truncated β4 subunit (β4c) is identified in the human brain and shown to be highly expressed in nuclei of vestibular neurons. Pull-down assays, nuclear magnetic resonance, and isothermal titration calorimetry demonstrate that the protein interacts with the chromo shadow domain (CSD) of heterochromatin protein 1γ. Site-directed mutagenesis reveals that the primary CSD interaction occurs through a β4c C-terminal PXVXL consensus motif, adding the β4c subunit to a growing PXVXL protein family with epigenetic responsibilities. These proteins have multiple nuclear functions, including transcription regulation (TIF1α) and nucleosome assembly (CAF1). An NMR-based two-site docking model of β4c in complex with dimerized CSD is presented. Possible roles for the interaction are discussed
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