Fundamentals of Cellular Calcium Signaling: A Primer

Bootman, Martin D. and Bultynck, Geert (2020). Fundamentals of Cellular Calcium Signaling: A Primer. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 12, article no. a038802.



Ionized calcium (Ca2+) is the most versatile cellular messenger. All cells use Ca2+ signals to regulate their activities in response to extrinsic and intrinsic stimuli. Alterations in cellular Ca2+ signaling and/or Ca2+ homeostasis can subvert physiological processes into driving pathological outcomes. Imaging of living cells over the past decades has demonstrated that Ca2+ signals encode information in their frequency, kinetics, amplitude, and spatial extent. These parameters alter depending on the type and intensity of stimulation, and cellular context. Moreover, it is evident that different cell types produce widely varying Ca2+ signals, with properties that suit their physiological functions. This primer discusses basic principles and mechanisms underlying cellular Ca2+ signaling and Ca2+ homeostasis. Consequently, we have cited some historical articles in addition to more recent findings. A brief summary of the core features of cellular Ca2+ signaling is provided, with particular focus on Ca2+ stores and Ca2+ transport across cellular membranes, as well as mechanisms by which Ca2+ signals activate downstream effector systems.

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