Protein targeting and calcium signaling microdomains in neuronal cells

Cell Calcium. 1999 Nov;26(5):181-92. doi: 10.1054/ceca.1999.0071.


Over the last several years, a number of optical imaging, physiological, and molecular studies have clarified the mechanisms underlying differential calcium signaling in the postsynaptic neuron. These studies have revealed the existence of membrane-associated calcium microdomains, which are often specifically coupled to distinct protein signaling pathways. In this review, we discuss how these signaling microdomains are organized and regulated, emphasizing the structural and molecular features of synaptic protein complexes containing the metabotropic and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors and the L-type voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs). We conclude with a discussion of how these different signaling complexes may interact with one another, relationships which may be important in orchestrating the complex calcium signaling underlying developmental and activity-dependent changes in synaptic function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / physiology*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / physiology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • postsynaptic density proteins