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Trends Microbiol. 2002 Feb;10(2):87-93.

The functions of Ca(2+) in bacteria: a role for EF-hand proteins?

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  • 1Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, Kasteelpark Arenberg 20, B-3001, Heverlee, Belgium.


In bacteria, Ca(2+) is implicated in a wide variety of cellular processes, including the cell cycle and cell division. Dedicated influx and efflux systems tightly control the low cytoplasmic Ca(2+) levels in prokaryotes. Additionally, the growing number of proteins containing various Ca(2+)-binding motifs supports the importance of Ca(2+), which controls various protein functions by affecting protein stability, enzymatic activity or signal transduction. The existence of calmodulin-like proteins (containing EF-hand motifs) in bacteria is a long-standing hypothesis. Analysis of the prokaryotic protein sequences available in the databases has revealed the presence of several calmodulin-like proteins containing two or more authentic EF-hand motifs, suggesting that calmodulin-like proteins could be involved in Ca(2+) regulation in bacteria.

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