SERCA pump isoforms: their role in calcium transport and disease

Muscle Nerve. 2007 Apr;35(4):430-42. doi: 10.1002/mus.20745.


The sarcoendoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium transport ATPase (SERCA) is a pump that transports calcium ions from the cytoplasm into the SR. It is present in both animal and plant cells, although knowledge of SERCA in the latter is scant. The pump shares the catalytic properties of ion-motive ATPases of the P-type family, but has distinctive regulation properties. The SERCA pump is encoded by a family of three genes, SERCA1, 2, and 3, that are highly conserved but localized on different chromosomes. The SERCA isoform diversity is dramatically enhanced by alternative splicing of the transcripts, occurring mainly at the COOH-terminal. At present, more than 10 different SERCA isoforms have been detected at the protein level. These isoforms exhibit both tissue and developmental specificity, suggesting that they contribute to unique physiological properties of the tissue in which they are expressed. The function of the SERCA pump is modulated by the endogenous molecules phospholamban (PLB) and sarcolipin (SLN), expressed in cardiac and skeletal muscles. The mechanism of action of PLB on SERCA is well characterized, whereas that of SLN is only beginning to be understood. Because the SERCA pump plays a major role in muscle contraction, a number of investigations have focused on understanding its role in cardiac and skeletal muscle disease. These studies document that SERCA pump expression and activity are decreased in aging and in a variety of pathophysiological conditions including heart failure. Recently, SERCA pump gene transfer was shown to be effective in restoring contractile function in failing heart muscle, thus emphasizing its importance in muscle physiology and its potential use as a therapeutic agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Proteolipids / metabolism
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / enzymology
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases / chemistry
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases / genetics
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases / metabolism*


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Proteolipids
  • phospholamban
  • sarcolipin
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases