Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Novartis Found Symp. 2001;239:52-64; discussion 64-7, 150-9.

The versatility and complexity of calcium signalling.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Signalling, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK.


Ca2+ is a universal second messenger used to regulate a wide range of cellular processes such as fertilization, proliferation, contraction, secretion, learning and memory. Cells derive signal Ca2+ from both internal and external sources. The Ca2+ flowing through these channels constitute the elementary events of Ca2+ signalling. Ca2+ can act within milliseconds in highly localized regions or it can act much more slowly as a global wave that spreads the signal throughout the cell. Various pumps and exchangers are responsible for returning the elevated levels of Ca2+ back to the resting state. The mitochondrion also plays a critical role in that it helps the recovery process by taking Ca2+ up from the cytoplasm. Alterations in the ebb and flow of Ca2+ through the mitochondria can lead to cell death. A good example of the complexity of Ca2+ signalling is its role in regulating cell proliferation, such as the activation of lymphocytes. The Ca2+ signal needs to be present for over two hours and this prolonged period of signalling depends upon the entry of external Ca2+ through a process of capacitative Ca2+ entry. The Ca2+ signal stimulates gene transcription and thus initiates the cell cycle processes that culminate in cell division.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk