The ryanodine receptor (RyR) of skeletal muscle contains two functional domains: a carboxyl-terminal hydrophobic domain that forms the putative conduction pore of the calcium release channel, and a large cytoplasmic domain that corresponds to the "foot structure." To understand the contribution of the foot structure to the function of the calcium release channel, we studied a RyR deletion mutant, delta(1641-2437)-RyR, in which a region that is rich in glutamate and aspartate residues (a.a. 1641-2437) was removed. The wild-type and delta(1641-2437)-RyR proteins were expressed in a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line, and functions of single calcium release channels were measured in the lipid bilayer membrane. The wild-type RyR forms functional calcium release channels with a linear current-voltage relationship similar to that of the native channel identified in the sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane of skeletal muscle, whereas the channels formed by delta(1641-2437)-RyR exhibit significant inward rectification, i.e., currents moving from cytoplasm into SR lumen were approximately 20% less than that in the opposite direction. As in to the wt-RyR channel, opening of the delta(1641-2437)-RyR channel has a bell-shaped dependence on the cytoplasmic calcium, but the calcium-dependent activation and inactivation processes of the delta(1641-2437)-RyR channel are shifted to higher calcium concentrations. Our data show that deletion of a.a. 1641-2437 from the foot region of the skeletal muscle RyR results in changes in both ion conduction and calcium-dependent regulation of the calcium release channel.