Ion channels in glomerular mesangial cells from humans, rats, and mice have been studied by electrophysiological, molecular, and gene-knockout methods. Two channels, a large, Ca2+-activated K+ channel (BK) and a store-operated Ca2+ channel (SOCC), can be defined with respect to molecular structure and function. Human BK, comprised of a pore-forming α-subunit and an accessory β1-subunit, operate as Ca 2+-sensing feedback modulators of contractile tone. SOCC have also been characterized in a mouse cell line; they are comprised of molecules belonging to the transient receptor potential subfamily.
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