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J Biol Chem. 1994 May 20;269(20):14359-62.

Endoplasmic reticulum calcium store regulates membrane potential in mouse islet beta-cells.

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Department of Cell Physiology, Glaxo Research Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709.


Glucose stimulation of islet beta-cell insulin secretion is initiated by membrane depolarization and an elevation in intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) from a combination of influx through depolarization-activated Ca2+ channels and intracellular Ca2+ store release. Prevention of Ca2+ store refilling with thapsigargin produced a sustained depolarization, leading to enhanced Ca2+ influx and an elevation in [Ca2+]i in 12 mM glucose. Depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores by external EGTA reduced [Ca2+]i and also caused a long-lasting depolarization. In single beta-cells, external EGTA activated an inward current, the voltage range and kinetic properties of which differed from those of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels. A novel pathway thus exists in beta-cells by which depletion of endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ stores results in the activation of an inward current that, by inducing depolarization, facilitates Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. The physiological relevance of this pathway in the control of beta-cell function is indicated by the stimulation of insulin secretion by thapsigargin.

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