Regulation of Calcium Signalling in Cells

  • Ernesto Carafoli


Ca controls numerous cellular functions (see Carafoli, 1987, for a comprehensive review). Its signalling role demands its maintenance within cells at a very low free concentration; thus, mechanisms exist to modulate it in the cell domains where the Ca-sensitive targets are located. To achieve this, evolution has selected the reversible complexation by proteins, which are either soluble, organized in non-membranous structures, or intrinsic to membranes: they complex intracellular Ca from concentrations which are about 10,000 fold lower than in the external spaces. The Ca controlling function of the plasma membrane is based on the operation of membrane-intrinsic Ca transporting proteins, and is responsible for the long-term maintenance of the Ca gradient between cells and the extracellular space. The large inwardly directed Ca gradient maintained by the plasma membrane transporters ensures that even minor changes in the Ca permeability of the plasma membrane will produce significant swings in its intracellular concentration, and thus in turn efficiently modulate its signalling function.


Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Signalling Myosin Light Chain Kinase Plasmic Reticulum Calcium Pump 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernesto Carafoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiochemistrySwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)ZürichSwitzerland

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