Calcium Signalling and Regulation of Cell Function
Published Online: 15 OCT 2012
Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
How to Cite
Bootman, M. D., Rietdorf, K., Hardy, H., Dautova, Y., Corps, E., Pierro, C., Stapleton, E., Kang, E. and Proudfoot, D. 2012. Calcium Signalling and Regulation of Cell Function. eLS. .
- Published Online: 15 OCT 2012
The calcium ion (Ca2+) is a versatile intracellular messenger. It provides dynamic regulation of vast array of cellular processes such as gene transcription, differentiation and contraction. Ca2+ signals range from microsecond, nanoscopic events to intercellular waves lasting for many seconds. This diversity of Ca2+ signals arises from the wide assortment of Ca2+ transport and Ca2+ buffering processes employed by cells. Additional diversity in Ca2+ signalling stems from the ability of cells to utilise different sources of Ca2+. The cytosol is the principal Ca2+ signalling compartment. When Ca2+ ions enter the cytosol they interact with numerous Ca2+-binding proteins, thereby leading to activation, or inhibition, of cellular processes. Specificity is achieved by regulating the spatial and kinetic properties of Ca2+ signal. In this way, many concurrent Ca2+-sensitive cellular processes can be discretely regulated. A number of pathologies have been related to the breakdown of cellular Ca2+ homoeostasis or to aberrant Ca2+ signalling.
Calcium is a critical intracellular signal that controls key cell fate decisions.
Calcium signals derive from multiple sources that are accessed by a diverse range of transport mechanisms.
The kinetics and spatial properties of calcium signals determine their impact on cellular activity.
Ca2+ signals are tissue-specific and are appropriate to regulate the physiological functions of individual cell types.