Neuronal Ca2+-sensor proteins: multitalented regulators of neuronal function

Trends Neurosci. 2004 Apr;27(4):203-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2004.01.010.


Many aspects of neuronal activity are regulated by Ca2+ signals. The transduction of temporally and spatially distinct Ca2+ signals requires the action of Ca2+-sensor proteins including various EF-hand-containing Ca2+-binding proteins. The neuronal Ca2+ sensor (NCS) protein family and the related Ca2+-binding proteins (CaBPs) have begun to emerge as key players in neuronal function. Many of these proteins are expressed predominantly or only in neurons, sometimes with cell-specific patterns of expression. Their ability to associate with membranes either constitutively or in response to elevated Ca2+ concentration allows the NCS proteins to discriminate between different spatial and temporal patterns of Ca2+ signals. Recent work has established several physiological roles of these proteins, including diverse actions on gene expression, ion channel function, membrane traffic of ion channels and receptors, and the control of apoptosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuropeptides