Calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR): pharmacological properties and signaling pathways

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jun;27(3):315-31. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 Jun 17.


In this article we consider the mechanisms by which the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) induces its cellular responses via the control (activation or inhibition) of signaling pathways. We consider key features of CaSR-mediated signaling including its control of the heterotrimeric G-proteins Gq/11, Gi/o and G12/13 and the downstream consequences recognizing that very few CaSR-mediated cell phenomena have been fully described. We also consider the manner in which the CaSR contributes to the formation of specific signaling scaffolds via peptide recognition sequences in its intracellular C-terminal along with the origins of its high level of cooperativity, particularly for Ca(2+)o, and its remarkable resistance to desensitization. We also consider the nature of the mechanisms by which the CaSR controls oscillatory and sustained Ca(2+)i mobilizing responses and inhibits or elevates cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels dependent on the cellular and signaling context. Finally, we consider the diversity of the receptor's ligands, ligand binding sites and broader compartment-dependent physiological roles leading to the identification of pronounced ligand-biased signaling for agonists including Sr(2+) and modulators including l-amino acids and the clinically effective calcimimetic cinacalcet. We note the implications of these findings for the development of new designer drugs that might target the CaSR in pathophysiological contexts beyond those established for the treatment of disorders of calcium metabolism.

Keywords: Ca(2+)(i) mobilization; G(12/13); G(i/o); G(q/11); GPCR phosphorylation; calcilytic; calcimimetic; calcium homeostasis; class C GPCR; cooperativity; crosstalk; desensitization; heterotrimeric G-proteins; protein kinase.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Calcium