Function and expression of the epithelial Ca(2+) channel family: comparison of mammalian ECaC1 and 2

J Physiol. 2001 Dec 15;537(Pt 3):747-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7793.2001.00747.x.


1. The epithelial Ca(2+) channel (ECaC) family represents a unique group of Ca(2+)-selective channels that share limited homology to the ligand-gated capsaicin receptors, the osmolarity-sensitive channel OTRPC4, as well as the transient receptor potential family. Southern blot analysis demonstrated that this family is restricted to two members, ECaC1 and ECaC2 (also named CaT1). 2. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that the two channels are co-expressed in calbindin-D-containing epithelia, including small intestine, pancreas and placenta, whereas kidney and brain only express ECaC1 and stomach solely ECaC2. 3. From an electrophysiological point of view, ECaC1 and ECaC2 are highly similar channels. Differences concern divalent cation permeability, the kinetics of Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation and recovery from inactivation. 4. Ruthenium red is a potent blocker of ECaC activity. Interestingly, ECaC2 has a 100-fold lower affinity for ruthenium red (IC(50) 9 +/- 1 microM) than ECaC1 (IC(50) 121 +/- 13 nM). 5. ECaCs are modulated by intracellular Mg(2+) and ATP. ECaC1 and ECaC2 activity rapidly decay in the absence of intracellular ATP. This effect is further accelerated at higher intracellular Mg(2+) concentrations. 6. In conclusion, ECaC1 and ECaC2 are homologous channels, with an almost identical pore region. They can be discriminated by their sensitivity for ruthenium red and show differences in Ca(2+)-dependent regulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology
  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Calcium Channels / drug effects
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels / physiology*
  • Cations, Divalent / metabolism
  • Cations, Monovalent / metabolism
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Magnesium / physiology
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Ruthenium Red / pharmacology
  • Sodium / pharmacology
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Calcium Channels
  • Cations, Divalent
  • Cations, Monovalent
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Trpv5 protein, mouse
  • Trpv6 protein, mouse
  • Ruthenium Red
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium