Editors' ChoiceStructural Biology

A complex channel comes into focus

Sci. Signal.  22 Dec 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 408, pp. ec383
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaf1073

Voltage-gated calcium (Cav) channels are activated in response to membrane potential to initiate calcium-mediated signaling pathways and are associated with diseases such as cardiac arrhythmia and epilepsy. Cav1.1 couples changes in membrane potential to cardiac muscle contraction. It comprises a core subunit and three auxiliary subunits. Wu et al. isolated the Cav1.1 complex from rabbit skeletal muscle and determined its structure by single-particle electron cryomicroscopy using direct electron detection and advanced image processing. The detailed architecture of the pseudotetrameric eukaryotic Cav channel in complex with its auxiliary subunits provides an important framework for understanding the function and disease mechanisms of related channels.

J. Wu, Z. Yan, Z. Li, C. Yan, S. Lu, M. Dong, N. Yan, Structure of the voltage-gated calcium channel Cav1.1 complex. Science 350, aad2395 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]