Rapid Ca2+ efflux from intracellular stores during cardiac muscle excitation–contraction coupling is mediated by the ryanodine-sensitive calcium-release channel, a large homotetrameric complex present in the sarcoplasmic reticulum. We report here the identification, primary structure and topological analysis of the ryanodine receptor–calcium release channel from human cardiac muscle (hRyR-2). Consistent with sedimentation and immunoblotting studies on the hRyR-2 protein, sequence analysis of ten overlapping cDNA clones reveals an open reading frame of 14901 nucleotides encoding a protein of 4967 amino acid residues with a predicted molecular mass of 564569 Da for hRyR-2. In-frame insertions corresponding to eight and ten amino acid residues were found in two of the ten cDNAs isolated, suggesting that novel, alternatively spliced transcripts of the hRyR-2 gene might exist. Six hydrophobic stretches, which are present within the hRyR-2 C-terminal 500 amino acids and are conserved in all RyR sequences, may be involved in forming the transmembrane domain that constitutes the Ca2+-conducting pathway, in agreement with competitive ELISA studies with a RyR-2-specific antibody. Sequence alignment of hRyR-2 with other RyR isoforms indicates a high level of overall identity within the RyR family, with the exception of two important regions that exhibit substantial variability. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the RyR-2 isoform diverged from a single ancestral gene before the RyR-1 and RyR-3 isoforms to form a distinct branch of the RyR family tree.

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Author notes

Present address: Department of Physiology, University College, London WC1E 6BT, U.K.

§

Present address: MRC Neurodegenerative Diseases Group, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London W2 8RP, U.K.

The nucleotide sequence reported will appear in DDBJ, EMBL and GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Databases under the accession number X98330.