Calcium channel auxiliary α2δ and β subunits: trafficking and one step beyond

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2012 Jul 18;13(8):542-55. doi: 10.1038/nrn3311.


The voltage-gated calcium channel α(2)δ and β subunits are traditionally considered to be auxiliary subunits that enhance channel trafficking, increase the expression of functional calcium channels at the plasma membrane and influence the channels' biophysical properties. Accumulating evidence indicates that these subunits may also have roles in the nervous system that are not directly linked to calcium channel function. For example, β subunits may act as transcriptional regulators, and certain α(2)δ subunits may function in synaptogenesis. The aim of this Review is to examine both the classic and novel roles for these auxiliary subunits in voltage-gated calcium channel function and beyond.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels / chemistry*
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / chemistry*
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / chemistry*
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • CACNA1B protein, human
  • CACNA2D1 protein, human
  • CACNB2 protein, human
  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type
  • Protein Subunits