Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 57, Issue 8–9, pp 1272–1286 | Cite as

Signaling pathways between the plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum calcium stores

  • J. W. Putney Jr.*
  • C. M. Pedrosa Ribeiro


This review discusses multiple ways in which the endoplasmic reticulum participates in and is influenced by signal transduction pathways. The endoplasmic reticulum provides a Ca2+ store that can be mobilized either by calcium-induced calcium release or by the diffusible messenger inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate. Depletion of endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ stores provides a signal that activates surface membrane Ca2+ channels, a process known as capacitative calcium entry. Depletion of endoplasmic reticulum stores can also signal long-term cellular responses such as gene expression and programmed cell death or apoptosis. In addition to serving as a source of cellular signals, the endoplasmic reticulum is also functionally and structurally modified by the Ca2+ and protein kinase C pathways. Elevated cytoplasmic Ca2+ causes a rearrangement and fragmentation of endoplasmic reticulum membranes. Protein kinase C activation reduces the storage capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ pool. In some cell types, protein kinase C inhibits capacitative calcium entry. Protein kinase C activation also protects the endoplasmic reticulum from the structural effects of high cytoplasmic Ca2+. The emerging view is one of a complex network of pathways through which the endoplasmic reticulum and the Ca2+ and protein kinase C signaling pathways interact at various levels regulating cellular structure and function.

Key words. Calcium signaling; calcium pools; capacitative calcium entry; gene expression; apoptosis; endoplasmic reticulum structure; protein kinase C. 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Putney Jr.*
    • 1
  • C. M. Pedrosa Ribeiro
    • 2
  1. 1.Calcium Regulation Section, Laboratory of Signal Transduction, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences—NIH, PO Box 12233, Research Triangle Park (North Carolina 27709, USA), Fax +1 919 541 1898, e-mail: putney@niehs.nih.govUS
  2. 2.Cystic Fibrosis Pulmonary Research and Training Center, The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill (North Carolina 27599, USA)US

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