The roles of the subunits in the function of the calcium channel

Dafna Singer, Martin Biel, Ilana Lotan, Veit Flockerzi, Franz Hofmann, Nathan Dascal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

475 Scopus citations


Dihydropyridine-sensitive voltage-dependent L-type calcium channels are critical to excitation-secretion and excitation-contraction coupling. The channel molecule is a complex of the main, pore-forming subunit α1 and four additional subunits: α2, δ, β, and γ (α2 and δ are encoded by a single messenger RNA). The α1 subunit messenger RNA alone directs expression of functional calcium channels in Xenopus oocytes, and coexpression of the α2/δ and β subunits enhances the amplitude of the current. The α2, δ, and γ subunits also have pronounced effects on its macroscopic characteristics, such as kinetics, voltage dependence of activation and inactivation, and enhancement by a dihydropyridine agonist. In some cases, specific modulatory functions can be assigned to individual subunits, whereas in other cases the different subunits appear to act in concert to modulate the properties of the channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1557
Number of pages5
Issue number5027
StatePublished - 1991


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