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Cell Calcium. 2007 Oct-Nov;42(4-5):389-96. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

Multiplicity of protein interactions and functions of the voltage-gated calcium channel beta-subunit.

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Institut für Neurophysiologie, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, 30625 Hannover, Germany.


For a long time the auxiliary beta-subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels was thought to be engaged exclusively in the regulation of calcium channel function, including gating, intracellular trafficking, assembly and membrane expression. The beta-subunit belongs to the membrane-associated guanylate kinase class of scaffolding proteins (MAGUK) that comprises a series of protein interaction motifs. Two such domains, a Src homology 3 and a guanylate kinase domain are present in the beta-subunit. Recently, it was shown that this subunit interacts with a variety of proteins and regulates diverse cellular processes ranging from gene expression to hormone secretion and endocytosis. In light of these new findings, the beta-subunit deserves to be promoted to the category of multifunctional regulatory protein. Some of these new functions support a tighter regulation of calcium influx through voltage-gated calcium channels and others apparently serve channel unrelated processes. Here we discuss a variety of protein-protein interactions held by the beta-subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels and their functional consequences. Certainly the identification of additional binding partners and effector pathways will help to understand how the different beta-subunit-mediated processes are interwoven.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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