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Br J Pharmacol. 2002 Jan;135(1):1-13.

The developing relationship between receptor-operated and store-operated calcium channels in smooth muscle.

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Centre for Cardiovascular Biology & Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences, King's College London, Hodgkin Building, Guys Campus, London SE1 9RT.


Contraction of smooth muscle is initiated, and to a lesser extent maintained, by a rise in the concentration of free calcium in the cell cytoplasm ([Ca(2+)](i)). This activator calcium can originate from two intimately linked sources--the extracellular space and intracellular stores, most notably the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Smooth muscle contraction activated by excitatory neurotransmitters or hormones usually involves a combination of calcium release and calcium entry. The latter occurs through a variety of calcium permeable ion channels in the sarcolemma membrane. The best-characterized calcium entry pathway utilizes voltage-operated calcium channels (VOCCs). However, also present are several types of calcium-permeable channels which are non-voltage-gated, including the so-called receptor-operated calcium channels (ROCCs), activated by agonists acting on a range of G-protein-coupled receptors, and store-operated calcium channels (SOCCs), activated by depletion of the calcium stores within the sarcoplasmic reticulum. In this article we will review the electrophysiological, functional and pharmacological properties of ROCCs and SOCCs in smooth muscle and highlight emerging evidence that suggests that the two channel types may be closely related, being formed from proteins of the Transient Receptor Potential Channel (TRPC) family.

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