Beta subunits of voltage-gated calcium channels

J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2003 Dec;35(6):599-620. doi: 10.1023/b:jobb.0000008026.37790.5a.


Calcium channel beta subunits have marked effects on the trafficking and on several of the biophysical properties of all high voltage activated calcium channels. In this article I shall review information on the different genes, on the structure of the beta subunits, and on their differential expression and post-translational modification. Their role in trafficking and assembly of the calcium channel heteromultimer will be described, and I will then review their effects on voltage-dependent and kinetic properties, stressing the differences between palmitoylated beta2a and the other beta subunits. Evidence for effects on calcium channel pharmacology will also be examined. I shall discuss the hypothesis that beta subunits can bind reversibly to calcium channels, and examine their role in the G protein modulation of calcium channels. Finally, I shall describe the consequences of knock-out of different beta subunit genes, and describe evidence for the involvement of beta subunits in disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Calcium Channels / chemistry*
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology*
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Calcium Channels
  • GTP-Binding Proteins