"Fast" plasma membrane calcium pump PMCA2a concentrates in GABAergic terminals in the adult rat brain

Alain C. Burette, Emanuel E. Strehler, Richard J. Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPases, (PMCA) represent the major high-affinity Ca2+ extrusion system in the brain. PMCAs comprise four isoforms and over 20 splice variants. Their different functional properties may permit different PMCA splice variants to accommodate different kinds of loCal [Ca2+] transients, but for a specific PMCA to play a Unique role in local Ca2+ handling it must be targeted to the appropriate-subcellular compartment. We used immunohistochemistry to study the spatial distribution of PMCA2a-one of the two major carboxyl-terminal splice variants of PMCA2-in the adult rat brain, testing whether this isoform, with especially high basal activity, is targeted to specific subcellular compartments. In striking contrast to the wide-spread distribution of PMCA2 as a whole, we found that PMCA2a is largely restricted to parvalbumin-positive inhibitory presynaptic terminals throughout the brain. The only major exception to this targeting pattern was in the cerebellar cortex, where PMCA2a also concentrates postsynaptically, in the spines of Purkinje cells. We propose that the fast Ca2+ activation kinetics and high Vmax of PMCA2a make this pump especially suited for rapid clearance of presynaptic Ca2+ in fast-spiking inhibitory nerve terminals, which face severe transient calcium loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-513
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009


  • Calcium extrusion
  • Calcium pump
  • Fast-spiking basket cells
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Parvalbumin
  • Presynaptic terminals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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