Cloning of a calcium channel alpha1 subunit from the reef-building coral, Stylophora pistillata

Gene. 1999 Feb 18;227(2):157-67. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(98)00602-7.


While the mechanisms of cellular Ca2+ entry associated with cell activation are well characterized, the pathway of continuous uptake of the large amount of Ca2+ needed in the biomineralization process remains largely unknown. Scleractinian corals are one of the major calcifying groups of organisms. Recent studies have suggested that a voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel is involved in the transepithelial transport of Ca2+ used for coral calcification. We report here the cloning and sequencing of a cDNA coding a coral alpha1 subunit Ca2+ channel. This channel is closely related to the L-type family found in vertebrates and invertebrates. Immunohistochemical analysis shows that this channel is present within the calicoblastic ectoderm, the site involved in calcium carbonate precipitation. These data and previous results provide molecular evidence that voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels are involved in calcification. Cnidarians are the most primitive organisms in which a Ca2+ channel has been cloned up to now; evolutionary perspectives on Ca2+ channel diversity are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Calcification, Physiologic / physiology
  • Calcium Channels / chemistry
  • Calcium Channels / genetics*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cnidaria / genetics*
  • Dihydropyridines / pharmacology
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Calcium Channels
  • Dihydropyridines

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF098943
  • GENBANK/AF098944
  • GENBANK/U64465