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Am J Physiol. 1997 Feb;272(2 Pt 2):H597-605.

Intracellular calcium-release channels: regulators of cell life and death.

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Cardiovascular Institute, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Intracellular Ca2+-release channels on the sarcoplasmic reticulum of striated muscle [ryanodine receptors (RyRs)] and on the endoplasmic reticulum of almost all types of cells [inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs)] comprise a unique family of molecules that are structurally and functionally distinct from all other known ion channels. These channels play crucial roles in Ca2+-mediated signaling that triggers excitation-contraction coupling, T-lymphocyte activation, fertilization, and many other cellular functions. Three forms of RyR have been identified: RyR1, expressed predominantly in skeletal muscle; RyR2, expressed predominantly in cardiac muscle; and RyR3, expressed in specialized muscles and nonmuscle tissues including the brain. RyR channels are tetramers composed of four subunits each with a molecular mass of approximately 560,000 Da. The tetrameric structures of RyR1 and RyR2 are stabilized by a channel-associated protein known as the FK506 binding protein (FKBP). FKBP is the cytosolic receptor for the immunosuppressant drugs FK506 and rapamycin that inhibit the prolyl isomerase activity of FKBP and can dissociate FKBP from RyRs. Rapamycin and FK506 increase the sensitivity of RyRs to agonists such as caffeine and could be a cause of cardiac dysfunction associated with high-dose immunosuppressant therapy by promoting leakage of Ca2+ from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The role of prolyl isomerase activity of FKBP in regulating RyR function remains uncertain, and several models have been proposed that could explain how the channel is modulated by its association with FKBP. Three forms of IP3Rs (types 1, 2 and 3) have been characterized by cDNA cloning. Most cells have at least one form of IP3R, and many express all three types. Like RyRs, the IP3R channels are tetramers composed of four subunits (approximately 300,000 Da each). IP3R1 function is regulated by at least two major cellular signaling pathways: the second messenger IP3 activates the channel, and phosphorylation by nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinases (e.g., Fyn) increase its open probability. During end-stage human heart failure, RyR2 mRNA and protein are downregulated, whereas IP3R1 is upregulated, suggesting that altered Ca2+-release channel levels may contribute to defects in Ca2+ homeostasis. Cells that are deficient in IP3R1 exhibit defective T cell-receptor signaling and thus cannot be activated by T cell-receptor stimulation. IP3R1-deficient cells are also resistant to induced apoptosis. Thus RyRs and IP3Rs play critical roles in fundamental and diverse signaling phenomena that include excitation-contraction coupling, T-cell activation, and programmed cell death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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