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Trends Neurosci. 2001 May;24(5):271-6.

The endoplasmic reticulum: one continuous or several separate Ca(2+) stores?

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  • 1The MRC Secretory Control Research Group, The Physiological Laboratory, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, L69 3BX.


The Ca2+ store and sink in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is important for Ca2+ signal integration and for conveyance of information in spatial and temporal domains. Textbooks regard the ER as one continuous network, but biochemical and biophysical studies revealed apparently discrete ER Ca2+ stores. Recent direct studies of ER lumenal Ca2+ movements show that this organelle system is one continuous Ca2+ store, which can function as a Ca2+ tunnel. The concept of a fully connected ER network is entirely compatible with evidence indicating that the distribution of Ca2+ -release channels in the ER membrane is discontinuous with clustering in certain localities.

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