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Publications of the Week

Calcium Channelopathies: Structural Insights into Disorders of the Muscle Excitation-Contraction Complex

By September 24, 2018No Comments

Ion channels are membrane proteins responsible for the passage of ions down their electrochemical gradients and across biological membranes. In this, they generate and shape action potentials and provide secondary messengers for various signaling pathways. They are often part of larger complexes containing auxiliary subunits and regulatory proteins. Channelopathies arise from mutations in the genes encoding ion channels or their associated proteins. Recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy have resulted in an explosion of ion channel structures in multiple states, generating a wealth of new information on channelopathies. Disease-associated mutations fall into different categories, interfering with ion permeation, protein folding, voltage sensing, ligand and protein binding, and allosteric modulation of channel gating. Prime examples of these are Ca2+-selective channels expressed in myocytes, for which multiple structures in distinct conformational states have recently been uncovered. We discuss the latest insights into these calcium channelopathies from a structural viewpoint.