Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The renaissance of Ca(2+)-binding proteins in the nervous system: secretagogin takes center stage

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Johannes Attems


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Effective control of the Ca(2+) homeostasis in any living cell is paramount to coordinate some of the most essential physiological processes, including cell division, morphological differentiation, and intercellular communication. Therefore, effective homeostatic mechanisms have evolved to maintain the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration at physiologically adequate levels, as well as to regulate the spatial and temporal dynamics of Ca(2+)signaling at subcellular resolution. Members of the superfamily of EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins are effective to either attenuate intracellular Ca(2+) transients as stochiometric buffers or function as Ca(2+) sensors whose conformational change upon Ca(2+) binding triggers protein-protein interactions, leading to cell state-specific intracellular signaling events. In the central nervous system, some EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins are restricted to specific subtypes of neurons or glia, with their expression under developmental and/or metabolic control. Therefore, Ca(2+)-binding proteins are widely used as molecular markers of cell identity whilst also predicting excitability and neurotransmitter release profiles in response to electrical stimuli. Secretagogin is a novel member of the group of EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins whose expression precedes that of many other Ca(2+)-binding proteins in postmitotic, migratory neurons in the embryonic nervous system. Secretagogin expression persists during neurogenesis in the adult brain, yet becomes confined to regionalized subsets of differentiated neurons in the adult central and peripheral nervous and neuroendocrine systems. Secretagogin may be implicated in the control of neuronal turnover and differentiation, particularly since it is re-expressed in neoplastic brain and endocrine tumors and modulates cell proliferation in vitro. Alternatively, and since secretagogin can bind to SNARE proteins, it might function as a Ca(2+) sensor/coincidence detector modulating vesicular exocytosis of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides or hormones. Thus, secretagogin emerges as a functionally multifaceted Ca(2+)-binding protein whose molecular characterization can unravel a new and fundamental dimension of Ca(2+)signaling under physiological and disease conditions in the nervous system and beyond.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Alpar A, Attems J, Mulder J, Hokfelt T, Harkany T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cellular Signalling

Year: 2012

Volume: 24

Issue: 2

Pages: 378-387

Print publication date: 01/10/2011

ISSN (print): 0898-6568

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3913

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2011.09.028


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric