G Protein-Coupled Receptor-Mediated Calcium Signaling in Astrocytes

  • Maurizio De PittàEmail author
  • Eshel Ben-Jacob
  • Hugues Berry
Part of the Springer Series in Computational Neuroscience book series (NEUROSCI)


Astrocytes express a large variety of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) which mediate the transduction of extracellular signals into intracellular calcium responses. This transduction is provided by a complex network of biochemical reactions which mobilizes a wealth of possible calcium-mobilizing second messenger molecules. Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate is probably the best known of these molecules whose enzymes for its production and degradation are nonetheless calcium-dependent. We present a biophysical modeling approach based on the assumption of Michaelis–Menten enzyme kinetics, to effectively describe GPCR-mediated astrocytic calcium signals. Our model is then used to study different mechanisms at play in stimulus encoding by shape and frequency of calcium oscillations in astrocytes.


Inositol 1, 4, 5-trisphospate metabolism Calcium encoding Signal integration Calcium-induced calcium release threshold Protein kinase C Diacylglycerol 





\(\mathrm{{Ca^{2+}}}\) /calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II


Calcium-induced calcium release


Conventional protein kinase C




DAG kinase (lipase)


Endoplasmic reticulum


G protein-coupled receptor


Guanosine-5’-triphosphate (guanosine diphosphate)

\(\mathrm{{IP}_3}\) (\(\mathrm{{IP}_3}\) R)

Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (receptor)

\(\mathrm{{IP}_3}\) 3K

\(\mathrm{{IP}_3}\) 3-kinase


Inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase


Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate

PLC\(\upbeta \)  (PLC\(\updelta \))

Phospholipase C\(\upbeta \) (C\(\updelta \))



MDP was supported by an FP7 Marie Skłodowska-Curie International Outgoing Fellowship by the European Commission (Project 331486 “Neuron-Astro-Nets”), and he currently is a Junior Leader Postdoctoral Fellow sponsored by “la Caixa” Banking Foundation (LCF/BQ/LI18/11630006). MDP also acknowledge the support by the Basque Government through the BERC 2018–2021 program and by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities: BCAM Severo Ochoa accreditation SEV-2017-0718.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurizio De Pittà
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eshel Ben-Jacob
    • 2
  • Hugues Berry
    • 3
  1. 1.BCAM – Basque Center for Applied MathematicsBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.School of Physics and AstronomyTel Aviv UniversityRamat AvivIsrael
  3. 3.EPI BEAGLE, INRIA Rhône-AlpesVilleurbanneFrance

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