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Cell Calcium. 2005 Sep-Oct;38(3-4):303-10.

Intraluminal calcium as a primary regulator of endoplasmic reticulum function.

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Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, 1.124 Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.


The concentration of Ca2+ inside the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) regulates a vast array of spatiotemporally distinct cellular processes, from intracellular Ca2+ signals to intra-ER protein processing and cell death. This review summarises recent data on the mechanisms of luminal Ca2+-dependent regulation of Ca2+ release and uptake as well as ER regulation of cellular adaptive processes. In addition we discuss general biophysical properties of the ER membrane, as trans-endomembrane Ca2+ fluxes are subject to basic electrical forces, determined by factors such as the membrane potential of the ER and the ease with which Ca2+ fluxes are able to change this potential (i.e. the resistance of the ER membrane). Although these electrical forces undoubtedly play a fundamental role in shaping [Ca2+](ER) dynamics, at present there is very little direct experimental information about the biophysical properties of the ER membrane. Further studies of how intraluminal [Ca2+] is regulated, best carried out with direct measurements, are vital for understanding how Ca2+ orchestrates cell function. Direct monitoring of [Ca2+](ER) under conditions where the cytosolic [Ca2+] is known may also help to capture elusive biophysical information about the ER, such as the potential difference across the ER membrane.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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