Functional role of hyperreactive sulfhydryl moieties within the ryanodine receptor complex

Isaac N Pessah, Wei Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Several laboratories using chemically heterogeneous sulfhydryl modifying agents have shown that sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ channels known as ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are especially sensitive to modification of functionally important cysteine residues. The functional consequence of sulfhydryl modification of RyRs can include phases of activation and inhibition that are very much dependent on the concentration of the reagent used, the length of exposure, and the nature of the chemical reaction the reagent undertakes with sulfhydryl groups. Most challenging is understanding the relationship for how specific sulfhydryl moieties ascribe specific aspects of RyR function. Considering the structural complexity of the RyR complex with its associated proteins, this task is likely to be a formidable one. A small number of hyperreactive thiols have been shown to exist within the RyR complex. Their functional role does not appear to impact directly on channel gating. Rather hyperreactive cysteine (Cys) moieties may represent biochemical components of a redox sensor that conveys information about localized changes in redox potential produced by physiologic (e.g., glutathione, nitric oxide) and pathophysiologic (quinones, reactive oxygen species) channel modulators to the Ca2+ release process. The molecular and functional details of such a redox sensor remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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