Cav1.2 channel current block by the PKA inhibitor H-89 in rat tail artery myocytes via a PKA-independent mechanism: Electrophysiological, functional, and molecular docking studies

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To characterize the role of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) in regulating vascular Ca2+ current through Cav1.2 channels [ICa1.2], we have documented a marked capacity of the isoquinoline H-89, widely used as a PKA inhibitor, to reduce current amplitude. We hypothesized that the ICa1.2 inhibitory activity of H-89 was mediated by mechanisms unrelated to PKA inhibition. To support this, an in-depth analysis of H-89 vascular effects on both ICa1.2 and contractility was undertaken by performing whole-cell patch-clamp recordings and functional experiments in rat tail main artery single myocytes and rings, respectively. H-89 inhibited ICa1.2 with a pIC50 (M) value of about 5.5, even under conditions where PKA activity was either abolished by both the PKA antagonists KT5720 and protein kinase inhibitor fragment 6–22 amide or enhanced by the PKA stimulators 6-Bnz-cAMP and 8-Br-cAMP. Inhibition of ICa1.2 by H-89 appeared almost irreversible upon washout, was charge carrier- and voltage-dependent, and antagonised by the Cav1.2 channel agonist (S)-(-)-Bay K 8644. H-89 did not alter both potency and efficacy of verapamil, did not affect current kinetics or voltage-dependent activation, while shifting to the left the 50% voltage of inactivation in a concentration-dependent manner. H-89 docked at the α1C subunit in a pocket region close to that of (S)-(-)-Bay K 8644 docking, forming a hydrogen bond with the same, key amino acid residue Tyr-1489. Finally, both high K+- and (S)-(-)-Bay K 8644-induced contractions of rings were fully reverted by H-89. In conclusion, these results indicate that H-89 inhibited vascular ICa1.2 and, consequently, the contractile function through a PKA-independent mechanism. Therefore, caution is recommended when interpreting experiments where H-89 is used to inhibit vascular smooth muscle PKA.

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