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Biophys J. 2006 Jul 1;91(1):151-63. Epub 2006 Apr 14.

A buffering SERCA pump in models of calcium dynamics.

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Department of Mathematics, School of Medical Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Many cells use oscillations in calcium concentration to transmit messages. The oscillations largely result from an influx of calcium into the cytosol from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), followed by an efflux of calcium from the cytosol back into the ER. The sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) pump pumps calcium into the ER. It binds calcium on the cytosolic side and releases it on the ER side and in the delay between binding and release, calcium is buffered by the pump. We developed a model of a buffering SERCA pump and investigated whether including this in a model of calcium oscillations has any significant effects. We found that the oscillations produced when using the SERCA pump, which does not buffer calcium, have a larger amplitude and a slightly smaller period than when using the buffering SERCA pump. We show that the buffering SERCA pump shows adaptation to a stimulus, and we demonstrate that, by using a bidirectional SERCA pump, we are able to eliminate futile cycling of calcium between the cytosol and ER when the cell is at rest.

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