Ryanodine Receptor Structure and Function in Health and Disease

  • Gaetano Santulli
  • Daniel Lewis
  • Amedee des Georges
  • Andrew R. Marks
  • Joachim FrankEmail author
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 87)


Ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are ubiquitous intracellular calcium (Ca2+) release channels required for the function of many organs including heart and skeletal muscle, synaptic transmission in the brain, pancreatic beta cell function, and vascular tone. In disease, defective function of RyRs due either to stress (hyperadrenergic and/or oxidative overload) or genetic mutations can render the channels leaky to Ca2+ and promote defective disease-causing signals as observed in heat failure, muscular dystrophy, diabetes mellitus, and neurodegerative disease. RyRs are massive structures comprising the largest known ion channel-bearing macromolecular complex and exceeding 3 million Daltons in molecular weight. RyRs mediate the rapid release of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum (ER/SR) to stimulate cellular functions through Ca2+-dependent processes. Recent advances in single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have enabled the determination of atomic-level structures for RyR for the first time. These structures have illuminated the mechanisms by which these critical ion channels function and interact with regulatory ligands. In the present chapter we discuss the structure, functional elements, gating and activation mechanisms of RyRs in normal and disease states.


Ryanodine receptor (RyR) Calcium release channel Cryo-EM Endoplasmic reticulum Sarcoplasmic reticulum 



This work was supported by HHMI (to J.F.) and grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01AR060037 and R01HL061503 to A.R.M., R01GM29169 to J.F., R00DK107895 to G.S.).


ARM is a consultant and board member and owns shares in ARMGO Pharma, Inc. a biotech startup targeting RyR channels for therapeutic purposes.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaetano Santulli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel Lewis
    • 3
  • Amedee des Georges
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Andrew R. Marks
    • 3
    • 7
  • Joachim Frank
    • 8
    • 9
    Email author
  1. 1.The Wu Center for Molecular Cardiology, Department of Physiology and Cellular BiophysicsColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.The Wilf Family Cardiovascular Research Institute and the Einstein-Mount Sinai Diabetes Research Center, Department of MedicineAlbert Einstein College of Medicine – Montefiore University HospitalNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physiology and Cellular BiophysicsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Chemistry & BiochemistryCity College of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Ph.D. Program in BiochemistryThe Graduate Center of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of MedicineColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  8. 8.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  9. 9.Department of Biological SciencesColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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