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Calretinin: from a “simple” Ca2+ buffer to a multifunctional protein implicated in many biological processes

Frontiers in Neuroanatomy

Frontiers Media S.A.

calretinin, calcium signaling, calcium sensor, calcium buffer, neuron excitability

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      Abstract

      The hexa-EF-hand Ca 2+-binding protein calretinin (CR) is predominantly expressed in specific neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system. However, CR expression is also observed in non-neuronal cells, e.g., during embryonic development and in mesothelioma cells. Of the 6 EF-hand domains, 5 are functional; the first 4 domains form 2 pairs showing high cooperativity within a pair that results in non-linear modulation of intracellular Ca 2+ signals by CR. EF-hand domain 5 has a low affinity and represents the identified interaction site with CR-binding partners present in mouse cerebellar granule cells. CR binding to other targets including the pore-forming α 1 subunit of the Ca 2+ channel Ca V 2.1, as well as to huntingtin indicates additional Ca 2+ sensor functions besides the well-known Ca 2+-buffering functions. The absence of CR in cerebellar granule cells of CR −/− mice results in increased excitability and altered firing of Purkinje cells and promotes cerebellar 160-Hz oscillations impairing motor coordination. The putative role of CR in neuroprotection is still highly discussed. Altogether, CR emerges as a multi-functional protein also associated with development, i.e., cell proliferation, differentiation, and cell death.

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      Transient calretinin expression defines early postmitotic step of neuronal differentiation in adult hippocampal neurogenesis of mice.

      We here show that the early postmitotic stage of granule cell development during adult hippocampal neurogenesis is characterized by the transient expression of calretinin (CR). CR expression was detected as early as 1 day after labeling dividing cells with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), but not before. Staining for Ki-67 confirmed that no CR-expressing cells were in cell cycle. Early after BrdU, CR colocalized with immature neuronal marker doublecortin; and later with persisting neuronal marker NeuN. BrdU/CR-labeled cells were negative for GABA and GABAA1 receptor, but early on expressed granule cell marker Prox-1. After 6 weeks, no new neurons expressed CR, but all contained calbindin. Stimuli inducing adult neurogenesis have limited (enriched environment), strong (voluntary wheel running), and very strong effects on cell proliferation (kainate-induced seizures). In these models the induction of cell proliferation was paralleled by an increase of CR-positive cells, indicating the stimulus-dependent progression from cell division to a postmitotic stage.
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        Cytosolic Ca2+ buffers.

        "Ca(2+) buffers," a class of cytosolic Ca(2+)-binding proteins, act as modulators of short-lived intracellular Ca(2+) signals; they affect both the temporal and spatial aspects of these transient increases in [Ca(2+)](i). Examples of Ca(2+) buffers include parvalbumins (α and β isoforms), calbindin-D9k, calbindin-D28k, and calretinin. Besides their proven Ca(2+) buffer function, some might additionally have Ca(2+) sensor functions. Ca(2+) buffers have to be viewed as one of the components implicated in the precise regulation of Ca(2+) signaling and Ca(2+) homeostasis. Each cell is equipped with proteins, including Ca(2+) channels, transporters, and pumps that, together with the Ca(2+) buffers, shape the intracellular Ca(2+) signals. All of these molecules are not only functionally coupled, but their expression is likely to be regulated in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner to maintain normal Ca(2+) signaling, even in the absence or malfunctioning of one of the components.
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          Cellular distribution of the calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin, calbindin, and calretinin in the neocortex of mammals: phylogenetic and developmental patterns.

          The three calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin, calbindin, and calretinin are found in morphologically distinct classes of inhibitory interneurons as well as in some pyramidal neurons in the mammalian neocortex. Although there is a wide variability in the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the neocortical subpopulations of calcium-binding protein-immunoreactive neurons in mammals, most of the available data show that there is a fundamental similarity among the mammalian species investigated so far, in terms of the distribution of parvalbumin, calbindin, and calretinin across the depth of the neocortex. Thus, calbindin- and calretinin-immunoreactive neurons are predominant in layers II and III, but are present across all cortical layers, whereas parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons are more prevalent in the middle and lower cortical layers. These different neuronal populations have well defined regional and laminar distribution, neurochemical characteristics and synaptic connections, and each of these cell types displays a particular developmental sequence. Most of the available data on the development, distribution and morphological characteristics of these calcium-binding proteins are from studies in common laboratory animals such as the rat, mouse, cat, macaque monkey, as well as from postmortem analyses in humans, but there are virtually no data on other species aside of a few incidental reports. In the context of the evolution of mammalian neocortex, the distribution and morphological characteristics of calcium-binding protein-immunoreactive neurons may help defining taxon-specific patterns that may be used as reliable phylogenetic traits. It would be interesting to extend such neurochemical analyses of neuronal subpopulations to other species to assess the degree to which neurochemical specialization of particular neuronal subtypes, as well as their regional and laminar distribution in the cerebral cortex, may represent sets of derived features in any given mammalian order. This could be particularly interesting in view of the consistent differences in neurochemical typology observed in considerably divergent orders such as cetaceans and certain families of insectivores and metatherians, as well as in monotremes. The present article provides an overview of calcium-binding protein distribution across a large number of representative mammalian species and a review of their developmental patterns in the species where data are available. This analysis demonstrates that while it is likely that the developmental patterns are quite consistent across species, at least based on the limited number of species for which ontogenetic data exist, the distribution and morphology of calcium-binding protein-containingneurons varies substantially among mammalian orders and that certain species show highly divergent patterns compared to closely related taxa. Interestingly, primates, carnivores, rodents and tree shrews appear closely related on the basis of the observed patterns, marsupials show some affinities with that group, whereas prototherians have unique patterns. Our findings also support the relationships of cetaceans and ungulates, and demonstrates possible affinities between carnivores and ungulates, as well as the existence of common, probably primitive, traits in cetaceans and insectivores.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Anatomy, Department of Medicine, University of Fribourg Fribourg, Switzerland
            Author notes

            Edited by: Filip Barinka, University of Regensburg, Germany

            Reviewed by: Hartmut Schmidt, University of Leipzig, Germany; Ping Liu, University of Connecticut Health Center, USA

            *Correspondence: Beat Schwaller, Anatomy, Department of Medicine, University of Fribourg, Route Albert-Gockel 1, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland e-mail: beat.schwaller@ 123456unifr.ch

            This article was submitted to the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.

            Journal
            Front Neuroanat
            Front Neuroanat
            Front. Neuroanat.
            Frontiers in Neuroanatomy
            Frontiers Media S.A.
            1662-5129
            09 January 2014
            05 February 2014
            2014
            : 8
            3913827
            10.3389/fnana.2014.00003
            Copyright © 2014 Schwaller.

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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            Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 62, Pages: 7, Words: 6030
            Categories
            Neuroscience
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