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We propose a simple, physically reasonable electron-conformational model for the ryanodine receptor (RyR) and, on that basis, present a theory to describe RyR lattice responses to L-type channel triggering as an induced non-equilibrium phase transition. Each RyR is modelled with a single open and a single closed (electronic) state only, described utilizing a s=12 pseudospin approach. In addition to the fast electronic degree of freedom, the RyR channel is characterized by a slow classical conformational coordinate, Q, which specifies the RyR channel calcium conductance and provides a multimodal continuum of possible RyR states. The cooperativity in the RyR lattice is assumed to be determined by inter-channel conformational coupling. Given a threshold sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium load, the RyR lattice fires due to a nucleation process with a step-by-step domino-like opening of a fraction of lattice channels, providing for a sufficient release to generate calcium sparks. The optimal mode of RyR lattice functioning during calcium-induced calcium release implies a fractional release with a robust termination due to a decrease in SR calcium load, accompanied by a respective change in effective conformational strain of the lattice. SR calcium overload is shown to result in excitation of RyR lattice auto-oscillations with spontaneous RyR channel opening and closure.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





88 - 103


Animals, Calcium, Computer Simulation, Humans, Ion Channel Gating, Models, Chemical, Protein Conformation, Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel, Sarcoplasmic Reticulum