Ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are intracellular calcium release channels that participate in controlling cytosolic calcium levels. At variance with the probably ubiquitous inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-operated calcium channels (1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors), RyRs have been mainly regarded as the calcium release channels controlling skeletal and cardiac muscle contraction. Increasing evidence has recently suggested that RyRs may be more widely expressed, but this has never been extensively examined. Therefore, we cloned three cDNAs corresponding to murine RyR homologues to carry a comprehensive analysis of their expression in murine tissues. Here, we report that the three genes are expressed in almost all tissues analyzed, where tissue-specific patterns of expression were observed. In the uterus and vas deferens, expression of RyR3 was localized to the smooth muscle component of these organs. In the testis, expression of RyR1 and RyR3 was detected in germ cells. RyR mRNAs were also detected in in vitro-cultured cell lines. RyR1, RyR2, and RyR3 mRNA were detected in the cerebrum and in the cerebellum. In situ analysis revealed a cell type-specific pattern of expression in the different regions of the central nervous system. The differential expression of the three ryanodine receptor genes in the central nervous system was also confirmed using specific antibodies against the respective proteins. This widespread pattern of expression suggests that RyRs may participate in the regulation of intracellular calcium homeostasis in a range of cells wider than previously recognized.

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