The Timothy syndrome mutations G402S and G406R abolish inactivation of CaV1.2 and cause multiorgan dysfunction and lethal arrhythmias. To gain insights into the consequences of the G402S mutation on structure and function of the channel, we systematically mutated the corresponding Gly-432 of the rabbit channel and applied homology modeling. All mutations of Gly-432 (G432A/M/N/V/W) diminished channel inactivation. Homology modeling revealed that Gly-432 forms part of a highly conserved structure motif (G/A/G/A) of small residues in homologous positions of all four domains (Gly-432 (IS6), Ala-780 (IIS6), Gly-1193 (IIIS6), Ala-1503 (IVS6)). Corresponding mutations in domains II, III, and IV induced, in contrast, parallel shifts of activation and inactivation curves indicating a preserved coupling between both processes. Disruption between coupling of activation and inactivation was specific for mutations of Gly-432 in domain I. Mutations of Gly-432 removed inactivation irrespective of the changes in activation. In all four domains residues G/A/G/A are in close contact with larger bulky amino acids from neighboring S6 helices. These interactions apparently provide adhesion points, thereby tightly sealing the activation gate of CaV1.2 in the closed state. Such a structural hypothesis is supported by changes in activation gating induced by mutations of the G/A/G/A residues. The structural implications for CaV1.2 activation and inactivation gating are discussed
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