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F-actin-based Ca signaling—a critical comparison with the current concept of Ca signaling



A short comparative survey on the current idea of Ca signaling and the alternative concept of F-actin-based Ca signaling is given. The two hypotheses differ in one central aspect, the mechanism of Ca storage. The current theory rests on the assumption of Ca-accumulating endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum-derived vesicles equipped with an ATP-dependent Ca pump and IP3- or ryanodine-sensitive channel-receptors for Ca-release. The alternative hypothesis proceeds from the idea of Ca storage at the high-affinity binding sites of actin filaments. Cellular sites of F-actin-based Ca storage are microvilli and the submembrane cytoskeleton. Several specific features of Ca signaling such as store-channel coupling, quantal Ca release, spiking and oscillations, biphasic and “phasic” uptake kinetics, and Ca-induced Ca release (CICR), which are not adequately described by the current concept, are inherent properties of the F-actin system and its dynamic state of treadmilling. J. Cell. Physiol. 209: 270–287, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.