Calcium signalling in bacteria



Whereas the importance of calcium as a cell regulator is well established in eukaryotes, the role of calcium in prokaryotes is still elusive. Over the past few years, there has been an increased interest in the role of calcium in bacteria. It has been demonstrated that as in eukaryotic organisms, the intracellular calcium concentration in prokaryotes is tightly regulated ranging from 100 to 300 nM. It has been found that calcium ions are involved in the maintenance of cell structure, motility, transport and cell differentiation processes such as sporulation, heterocyst formation and fruiting body development. In addition, a number of calcium-binding proteins have been isolated in several prokaryotic organisms. The characterization of these proteins and the identification of other factors suggest the possibility that calcium signal transduction exists in bacteria. This review presents recent developments of calcium in bacteria as it relates to signal transduction.