A Review of Calcineurin Biophysics with Implications for Cardiac Physiology

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 26;22(21):11565. doi: 10.3390/ijms222111565.


Calcineurin, also known as protein phosphatase 2B, is a heterodimeric serine threonine phosphatase involved in numerous signaling pathways. During the past 50 years, calcineurin has been the subject of extensive investigation. Many of its cellular and physiological functions have been described, and the underlying biophysical mechanisms are the subject of active investigation. With the abundance of techniques and experimental designs utilized to study calcineurin and its numerous substrates, it is difficult to reconcile the available information. There have been a plethora of reports describing the role of calcineurin in cardiac disease. However, a physiological role of calcineurin in healthy cardiomyocyte function requires clarification. Here, we review the seminal biophysical and structural details that are responsible for the molecular function and inhibition of calcineurin. We then focus on literature describing the roles of calcineurin in cardiomyocyte physiology and disease.

Keywords: calcineurin; calcium signaling; calmodulin; cardiac physiology; cardiomyocyte; hypertrophy; phosphatase; protein phosphatase 2B (PP2B).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biophysics / methods
  • Calcineurin / metabolism*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Diseases / metabolism*
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Calcineurin