Voltage-sensitive calcium channels (VSCCs) mediate the entry of calcium ions into excitable cells and are also involved in a variety of calcium-dependent processes, including muscle contraction, hormone or neurotransmitter release, gene expression, cell motility, cell division and cell death. Long-lasting (L-type) calcium channels belong to the 'high-voltage activated' (HVA) group. They are blocked by dihydropyridines (DHP), phenylalkylamines, benzothiazepines, and by omega-agatoxin-IIIA (omega-aga-IIIA). They are however insensitive to omega-conotoxin-GVIA (omega-ctx-GVIA) and omega-agatoxin-IVA (omega-aga-IVA). The overall conclusion is that deletion of the beta 3 subunit affects at least three distinct types of High voltage activated Ca2+ channel (L,N and P/Q types), but no single type of channel is solely dependent on beta 3.
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