Expression of the neuronal calcium sensor protein family in the rat brain

Neuroscience. 2000;99(2):205-16. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(00)00201-3.


The neuronal calcium sensor proteins are members of the calcium-binding protein superfamily. They control localized calcium signalling on membranes and may make G-protein cascades sensitive to cytosolic calcium. The family members are recoverin (visinin, S-modulin), neuronal calcium sensor-1 (frequenin), hippocalcin, neuronal visinin-like protein-1 (visinin-like protein, neurocalcin-alpha), neuronal visinin-like protein-2 and neuronal visinin-like protein-3. Recoverin is expressed only in the retina and pineal gland. Using in situ hybridization, we mapped the expression of the other neuronal calcium sensor protein genes in the adult rat brain. Neuronal visinin-like protein-1 messenger RNA has a widespread distribution and is abundant in all brain areas except the caudate-putamen. Neuronal calcium sensor-1 gene expression is pan-neuronal. Neuronal calcium sensor-1 messenger RNA is present in the dendrites of hippocampal pyramidal and granule cells, suggesting a specific role in dendritic function. Hippocalcin and neuronal visinin-like protein-2 are mainly expressed in the forebrain and have similar expression patterns (neocortex, hippocampus and caudate-putamen). Neuronal visinin-like protein-3 has the most restricted expression; its highest expression level is in the cerebellum (Purkinje and granule cells). However, the neuronal visinin-like protein-3 gene is also expressed in many ventral nuclei throughout the fore- and midbrain, in the medial habenulae, and in the superior and inferior colliculi. The neuronal calcium sensor proteins are a relatively unexplored family of Ca(2+)-binding proteins. They are likely to be involved in many diverse areas of neuronal signalling. In this paper, we describe their expression in the rat brain as determined by in situ hybridization. As all five neuronal calcium sensor protein genes have distinctive expression patterns, they probably perform specific functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Neuropeptides