The nucleus also contains the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R)/Ca2+ channels in the nucleoplasm proper independent of the nuclear envelope or the cytoplasm. The nuclear IP3R/Ca 2+ channels were shown to be present in small IP3- dependent nucleoplasmic Ca2+ store vesicles, yet no information is available regarding the IP3 sensitivity of nuclear IP 3R/Ca2+ channels. Here, we show that nuclear IP 3R/Ca2+ channels are 3-4-fold more sensitive to IP 3 than cytoplasmic ones in both neuroendocrine PC12 cells and nonneuroendocrine NIH3T3 cells. Given the presence of phosphoinositides and phospholipase C and the importance of IP3-mediated Ca2+ signaling in the nucleus, the high IP3 sensitivity of nuclear IP 3R/Ca2+ channels seemed to reflect the physiological needs of the nucleus to finely control the IP3-dependent Ca2+ concentrations. It was further shown that the IP3R/Ca2+ channels of secretory cells are 7-8-fold more sensitive to IP3 than those of nonsecretory cells. This difference appeared to result from the presence of secretory cell marker protein chromogranins (thus secretory granules) in secretory cells; expression of chromogranins in NIH3T3 cells increased the IP3 sensitivity of both nuclear and cytoplasmic IP 3R/Ca2+ channels by ∼4-6-fold. In contrast, suppression of chromogranin A expression in PC12 cells changed the EC50 of IP3 sensitivity for cytoplasmic IP3R/Ca2+ channels from 17 to 47 nM, whereas suppression of chromogranin B expression changed the EC50 of cytoplasmic IP3R/Ca2+ channels from 17 to 102 nM and the nuclear ones from 4.3 to 35 nM. Given that secretion is the major function of secretory cells and is under a tight control of intracellular Ca2+ concentrations, the high IP3 sensitivity appears to reflect the physiological roles of secretory cells.
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