CD20 is a B-lymphocyte-specific integral membrane protein, implicated in the regulation of transmembrane calcium conductance, cell-cycle progression and B-lymphocyte proliferation. CD20 is proposed to function as a SOCC (store-operated calcium channel). SOCCs are activated by receptor-stimulated calcium depletion of intracellular stores. Sustained calcium conductivity across the plasma membrane mediated by SOCC activity is required for long-term calcium-dependent processes, such as transcriptional control and gene expression. Cross-linking of CD20 by antibodies (e.g. Rituxan) has been reported to induce a rapid redistribution of CD20 into specialized microdomains at the plasma membrane, known as lipid rafts. Recruitment of CD20 into lipid rafts and its homo-oligomerization are suggested to be crucial for CD20 activity and regulation. This review outlines recent biochemical studies characterizing the role of CD20 in calcium signalling in B-lymphocytes and evaluates an engagement of lipid rafts in the regulation of CD20-mediated calcium conductivity.

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