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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1837. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2864.

Calfacilitin is a calcium channel modulator essential for initiation of neural plate development.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, Gower Street (Anatomy Building), London WC1E 6BT, UK.


Calcium fluxes have been implicated in the specification of the vertebrate embryonic nervous system for some time, but how these fluxes are regulated and how they relate to the rest of the neural induction cascade is unknown. Here we describe Calfacilitin, a transmembrane calcium channel facilitator that increases calcium flux by generating a larger window current and slowing inactivation of the L-type CaV1.2 channel. Calfacilitin binds to this channel and is co-expressed with it in the embryo. Regulation of intracellular calcium by Calfacilitin is required for expression of the neural plate specifiers Geminin and Sox2 and for neural plate formation. Loss-of-function of Calfacilitin can be rescued by ionomycin, which increases intracellular calcium. Our results elucidate the role of calcium fluxes in early neural development and uncover a new factor in the modulation of calcium signalling.

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