Nicotinic acid–adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP), a molecule derived from β-NADP, has been shown to promote intracellular calcium release in sea urchin eggs. However, there is little information regarding the role of NAADP in the regulation of intracellular calcium fluxes in mammalian cells. We found recently that several mammalian tissues have a high capacity for NAADP synthesis, as assessed by sea urchin egg bioassay. To determine the functional significance of NAADP production by mammalian tissues, we sought to determine whether NAADP is capable of inducing calcium release from microsomes prepared from cultured cells. We found that NAADP, but not β-NADP, activates a specific microsomal calcium release system in mesangial cells isolated from rat kidney; NAADP was without effect in renal tubular epithelial cells. NAADP-induced calcium release is not affected by inhibitors of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate or ryanodine channels. However, NAADP-elicited calcium release was inhibited by L-type calcium channel blockers and by alkaline phosphatase treatment of NAADP. NAADP also promotes specific microsomal calcium release in rat vascular smooth muscle cells, cardiac myocytes, fibroblasts and a human leukaemia cell line, indicating that the capacity for NAADP-induced calcium release is widespread in mammalian cells. We propose that NAADP may be an important regulator of intracellular calcium in many mammalian tissues.

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