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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Apr;9(4):409-35.

Redox control of calcium channels: from mechanisms to therapeutic opportunities.

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Discipline of Physiology, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular, and Chemical Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia.


Calcium plays an integral role in cellular function. It is a well-recognized second messenger necessary for signaling cellular responses, but in excessive amounts can be deleterious to function, causing cell death. The main route by which calcium enters the cytoplasm is either from the extracellular compartment or internal addistores via calcium channels. There is good evidence that calcium channels can respond to pharmacological compounds that reduce or oxidize thiol groups on the channel protein. In addition, reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxide that can mediate oxidative pathology also mediate changes in channel function via alterations of thiol groups. This review looks at the structure and function of calcium channels, the evidence that changes in cellular redox state mediate changes in channel function, and the role of redox modification of channels in disease processes. Understanding how redox modification of the channel protein alters channel structure and function is providing leads for the design of therapeutic interventions that target oxidative stress responses.

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