, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 621-637

Targeting Mechanisms of High Voltage-Activated Ca2+ Channels

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Abstract

Functional voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel complexes are assembled by three to four subunits: α1, β, α2δ subunits (C. Leveque et al., 1994, J. Biol Chem. 269, 6306–6312; M. W. McEnery et al., 1991, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 88, 11095–11099) and at least in muscle cells also γ subunits (B. M. Curtis and W. A. Catterall, 1984, Biochemistry 23, 2113–2118). Ca2+ channels mediate the voltage-dependent Ca2+ influx in subcellular compartments, triggering such diverse processes as neurotransmitter release, dendritic action potentials, excitation–contraction, and excitation–transcription coupling. The targeting of biophysically defined Ca2+ channel complexes to the correct subcellular structures is, thus, critical to proper cell and physiological functioning. Despite their importance, surprisingly little is known about the targeting mechanisms by which Ca2+ channel complexes are trausported to their site of function. Here we summarize what we know about the targeting of Ca2+ channel complexes through the cell to the plasma membrane and subcellular structures.