The IP3R [IP3 (inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate) receptor] is responsible for Ca2+ release from the ER (endoplasmic reticulum). We have been working extensively on the P400 protein, which is deficient in Purkinje-neuron-degenerating mutant mice. We have discovered that P400 is an IP3R and we have determined the primary sequence. Purified IP3R, when incorporated into a lipid bilayer, works as a Ca2+ release channel and overexpression of IP3R shows enhanced IP3 binding and channel activity. Addition of an antibody blocks Ca2+ oscillations indicating that IP3R1 works as a Ca2+ oscillator. Studies on the role of IP3R during development show that IP3R is involved in fertilization and is essential for determination of dorso-ventral axis formation. We found that IP3R is involved in neuronal plasticity. A double homozygous mutant of IP3R2 (IP3R type 2) and IP3R3 (IP3R type 3) shows a deficit of saliva secretion and gastric juice secretion suggesting that IP3Rs are essential for exocrine secretion. IP3R has various unique properties: cryo-EM (electron microscopy) studies show that IP3R contains multiple cavities; IP3R allosterically and dynamically changes its form reversibly (square form–windmill form); IP3R is functional even though it is fragmented by proteases into several pieces; the ER forms a meshwork but also forms vesicular ER and moves along microtubules using a kinesin motor; X ray analysis of the crystal structure of the IP3 binding core consists of an N-terminal β-trefoil domain and a C-terminal α-helical domain. We have discovered ERp44 as a redox sensor in the ER which binds to the luminal part of IP3R1 and regulates its activity. We have also found the role of IP3 is not only to release Ca2+ but also to release IRBIT which binds to the IP3 binding core of IP3R.

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Author notes

The Biochemical Society's Annual Symposium, The Cell Biology of Inositol Lipids and Phosphates, was held at the University of Birmingham on 29-31 March 2006.