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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2004 May;85(1):33-69.

Calsequestrin and the calcium release channel of skeletal and cardiac muscle.

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John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, PO Box 334, Canberra 2601, Australia.


Calsequestrin is by far the most abundant Ca(2+)-binding protein in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of skeletal and cardiac muscle. It allows the Ca2+ required for contraction to be stored at total concentrations of up to 20mM, while the free Ca2+ concentration remains at approximately 1mM. This storage capacity confers upon muscle the ability to contract frequently with minimal run-down in tension. Calsequestrin is highly acidic, containing up to 50 Ca(2+)-binding sites, which are formed simply by clustering of two or more acidic residues. The Kd for Ca2+ binding is between 1 and 100 microM, depending on the isoform, species and the presence of other cations. Calsequestrin monomers have a molecular mass of approximately 40 kDa and contain approximately 400 residues. The monomer contains three domains each with a compact alpha-helical/beta-sheet thioredoxin fold which is stable in the presence of Ca2+. The protein polymerises when Ca2+ concentrations approach 1mM. The polymer is anchored at one end to ryanodine receptor (RyR) Ca2+ release channels either via the intrinsic membrane proteins triadin and junctin or by binding directly to the RyR. It is becoming clear that calsequestrin has several functions in the lumen of the SR in addition to its well-recognised role as a Ca2+ buffer. Firstly, it is a luminal regulator of RyR activity. When triadin and junctin are present, calsequestrin maximally inhibits the Ca2+ release channel when the free Ca2+ concentration in the SR lumen is 1mM. The inhibition is relieved when the Ca2+ concentration alters, either because of small changes in the conformation of calsequestrin or its dissociation from the junctional face membrane. These changes in calsequestrin's association with the RyR amplify the direct effects of luminal Ca2+ concentration on RyR activity. In addition, calsequestrin activates purified RyRs lacking triadin and junctin. Further roles for calsequestrin are indicated by the kinase activity of the protein, its thioredoxin-like structure and its influence over store operated Ca2+ entry. Clearly, calsequestrin plays a major role in calcium homeostasis that extends well beyond its ability to buffer Ca2+ ions.

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