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Cell Calcium. 2007 Oct-Nov;42(4-5):379-87. Epub 2007 Apr 10.

A guide to sparkology: the taxonomy of elementary cellular Ca2+ signaling events.

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Department of Physiology, University of Bern, B├╝hlplatz 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.


Since the discovery of the Ca(2+) spark as an elementary event of cellular Ca(2+) signaling almost 15 years ago, the family of newly described Ca(2+) signal entities has been ever growing. While scientists working in Ca(2+) signaling may have maintained an overview over the specifics of this nomenclature, those outside the field often make the complaint that they feel hopelessly lost. With the present review we collect and summarize systematic information on the many Ca(2+) signaling events described in a variety of tissues and cells, and we emphasize why and how each of them has its own importance. Most of these signals are taking place in the cytosol of the respective cells, but several events have been recorded from intracellular organelles as well, where they may serve their own specific functions. Finally, we also try to convey an integrated view as to why cellular microdomain signaling is of fundamental biological importance.

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