Calcium signalling

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Calcium is one of the major intracellular components within a cell that leads to a variety of functional cell processes. It is important that levels of calcium are monitored within the cell. This is due to the ability of calcium to bind to free phosphate within the cell causing a build up of insoluble calcium phosphate. These processes, however, depend on the level of Calcium within the cell at the given time. Their reaction time is also variable ranging from, as identified by Berridge et al. [1] The synaptic membrane where Exocytosis occurs in a few milliseconds compared to the other end of the scale where Calcium triggers Cell proliferation and gene transcription over a number of minutes to hours.

The level and type of reaction is maintained by controls, known as ON and OFF mechanisms. [2]‘The Intracellular level of Calcium is determined by a balance between the ‘on’ reactions that introduce Calcium into the cytoplasm and the ‘off’ reactions through which this signal is removed by a combination of buffers, pumps and exchangers.’'
The range of reactions is brought about by the Cytosolic calcium signals being organised in, as stated by Thomas et al. [3]complex spatial and temporal patterns, even over conditions of sustained stimulation.
The spatial patterns are known as waves and the temporal patterns are known as spikes [4]. ‘Oscillations of cytosolic free calcium are a common form of temporal organisation. In the spatial domain, these calcium oscillations may take the form of calcium waves that propagate throughout the cell or may be restricted to specific subcellular regions.’

References

  1. Berridge, MJ., Bootman, MD., 2003. Calcium signalling: dynamics, homeostasis and remodelling . Nature Reviews Molecular Cell.
  2. Berridge, MJ., Bootman, MD., 2003. Calcium signalling: dynamics, homeostasis and remodelling . Nature Reviews Molecular Cell.
  3. Thomas , AP., Bird, GS., Hajnoczky, G., Robb- Gaspers, LD., Putney Jr, JW., 1996 Spatial and temporal aspects of cellular calcium signalling. The FASEB journal
  4. Thomas , AP., Bird, GS., Hajnoczky, G., Robb- Gaspers, LD., Putney Jr, JW., 1996 Spatial and temporal aspects of cellular calcium signalling. The FASEB journal
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