Ryanodine Receptors: Structure and Function
Ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are huge ion channels that are responsible for the release of Ca2+ from the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum. RyRs form homotetramers with a mushroom-like shape, consisting of a large cytoplasmic head and transmembrane stalk. Ca2+ is a major physiological ligand that triggers opening of RyRs, but a plethora of modulatory proteins and small molecules in the cytoplasm and sarco/endoplasmic reticulum lumen have been recognized. Over 300 mutations in RyRs are associated with severe skeletal muscle disorders or triggered cardiac arrhythmias. With the advent of high-resolution structures of individual domains, many of these can be mapped onto the three-dimensional structure.