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Physiol Rev. 1997 Oct;77(4):901-30.

Store depletion and calcium influx.

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  • 1Department of Membrane Biophysics, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany.


Calcium influx in nonexcitable cells regulates such diverse processes as exocytosis, contraction, enzyme control, gene regulation, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. The dominant Ca2+ entry pathway in these cells is the store-operated one, in which Ca2+ entry is governed by the Ca2+ content of the agonist-sensitive intracellular Ca2+ stores. Only recently has a Ca2+ current been described that is activated by store depletion. The properties of this new current, called Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ current (ICRAC), have been investigated in detail using the patch-clamp technique. Despite intense research, the nature of the signal that couples Ca2+ store content to the Ca2+ channels in the plasma membrane has remained elusive. Although ICRAC appears to be the most effective and widespread influx pathway, other store-operated currents have also been observed. Although the Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ channel has not yet been cloned, evidence continues to accumulate that the Drosophila trp gene might encode a store-operated Ca2+ channel. In this review, we describe the historical development of the field of Ca2+ signaling and the discovery of store-operated Ca2+ currents. We focus on the electrophysiological properties of the prototype store-operated current ICRAC, discuss the regulatory mechanisms that control it, and finally consider recent advances toward the identification of molecular mechanisms involved in this ubiquitous and important Ca2+ entry pathway.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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