Ca2+-activated ryanodine binding: Mechanisms of sensitivity and intensity modulation by Mg2+, caffeine, and adenine nucleotides

Isaac N Pessah, R. A. Stambuk, J. E. Casida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

287 Scopus citations


The Ca2+-ryanodine receptor complex is a functional unit at the terminal cisternae (TC) of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) whose proteins comprise the Ca2+ release channels which may be involved in excitation-contraction coupling. Ca2+, Mg2+, caffeine, and adenine nucleotides, but not inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate, may exert their inotropic effects on skeletal muscle SR by direct allosteric modulation of the [3H]ryanodine-binding site. Micromolar Ca2+ is primarily responsible for activating [3H]ryanodine binding by regulating receptor site density, affinity, and cooperativity. Mg2+ reduces the sensitivity to Ca2+ activation by directly competing with Ca2+ for the activator site. However, inhibition by Mg2+ is overcome in the presence of β,γ-methyleneadenosine 5'-triphosphate (AMP-PCP; 1 mM) or caffeine (20 mM). Caffeine dramatically increases the affinity of the Ca2+ activator site for Ca2+, whereas AMP-PCP or cAMP enhances the gating efficiency or the lifetime of the open state of the TC SR channel. A kinetic model is proposed for four functional domains of the Ca2+-ryanodine receptor complex: 1) the Ca2+-regulatory domain which binds Ca2+ with μM affinity is primarily responsible for gating the Ca2+ channel of the TC SR in a cooperative manner, and is inhibited by mM Mg2+ by direct competition for the activator site which appears to contain critical sulfhydryl groups; 2) a Ca2+-activated alkaloid binding domain in close proximity to the channel which binds ryanodine with nM affinity and rapidly occludes upon complex formation; 3) a domain which binds caffeine with low (greater than mM) affinity and directly influences the sensitivity of the Ca2+-regulatory site; and 4) a domain which binds adenine nucleotides with intermediate affinity (less than mM), does not require phosophorylation, and intensifies the Ca2+ signal which triggers opening of the Ca2+-release channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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