Calcium permeability of ligand-gated channels

Cell Calcium. 1998 Nov-Dec;24(5-6):325-32. doi: 10.1016/s0143-4160(98)90056-2.


Ligand-gated channels activated by excitatory neurotransmitters: glutamate, acetylcholine, ATP or serotonin are cation channels permeable to Ca2+. Molecular cloning revealed a large variety of the ligand-gated channel subunits differentially expressed in mammalian brain. Many of them have different Ca2+ permeability providing immense diversity in Ca2+ entry mediated by ligand-gated channels during synaptic transmission. Functional analysis of cloned channels allowed to identify structural elements in the pore forming regions determining Ca2+ permeability for many types of ligand-gated channels. The functional role of the Ca2+ entry mediated by various ligand-gated channels in mammalian central nervous system is less understood. The studies reviewed in this article provide information about known structural determinants of Ca2+ permeability of the ligand-gated channels and the role of this particular pathway of Ca2+ entry in cell function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Ion Channel Gating*
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Purinergic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Serotonin / metabolism


  • Calcium Channels
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Calcium