skip to content

Department of Pharmacology

Rossi, AM, Tovey, SC, Rahman, T, Prole, DL, Taylor, CW

BACKGROUND: Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3R) are expressed in almost all animal cells. Three mammalian genes encode closely related IP3R subunits, which assemble into homo- or hetero-tetramers to form intracellular Ca2+ channels. SCOPE OF THE REVIEW: In this brief review, we first consider a variety of complementary methods that allow the links between IP3 binding and channel gating to be defined. How does IP3 binding to the IP3-binding core in each IP3R subunit cause opening of a cation-selective pore formed by residues towards the C-terminal? We then describe methods that allow IP3, Ca2+ signals and IP3R mobility to be examined in intact cells. A final section briefly considers genetic analyses of IP3R signalling. MAJOR CONCLUSIONS: All IP3R are regulated by both IP3 and Ca2+. This allows them to initiate and regeneratively propagate intracellular Ca2+ signals. The elementary Ca2+ release events evoked by IP3 in intact cells are mediated by very small numbers of active IP3R and the Ca2+-mediated interactions between them. The spatial organization of these Ca2+ signals and their stochastic dependence on so few IP3Rs highlight the need for methods that allow the spatial organization of IP3R signalling to be addressed with single-molecule resolution. GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: A variety of complementary methods provide insight into the structural basis of IP3R activation and the contributions of IP3-evoked Ca2+ signals to cellular physiology. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biochemical, biophysical and genetic approaches to intracellular calcium signaling.

Publication ID: 
Published date: 
August 2012
Publication source: 
Publication type: 
Journal articles
Journal name: 
Biochim Biophys Acta
Publication volume: 
Parent title: 
Publication number: