Voltage-Gated Cav1 Channels in Disorders of Vision and Hearing

Curr Mol Pharmacol. 2015;8(2):143-8. doi: 10.2174/1874467208666150507104937.


Cav1 channels mediate L-type Ca(2+) currents that trigger the exocytotic release of glutamate from the specialized "ribbon" synapse of retinal photoreceptors (PRs) and cochlear inner hair cells (IHCs). Genetic evidence from animal models and humans support a role for Cav1.3 and Cav1.4 as the primary Cav channels in IHCs and PRs, respectively. Because of the unique features of transmission at ribbon synapses, Cav1.3 and Cav1.4 exhibit unusual properties that are well-suited for their physiological roles. These properties may be intrinsic to the channel subunit(s) and/or may be conferred by regulatory interactions with synaptic signaling molecules. This review will cover advances in our understanding of the function of Cav1 channels at sensory ribbon synapses, and how dysregulation of these channels leads to disorders of vision and hearing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / genetics
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / physiology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / physiology
  • Hearing / genetics
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / physiology
  • Synapses / genetics
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / genetics
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*


  • CACNA1D protein, human
  • CACNA1F protein, human
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type