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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Aug;66(16):2623-42. doi: 10.1007/s00018-009-0027-1. Epub 2009 Apr 21.

The annexins: spatial and temporal coordination of signaling events during cellular stress.

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Department of Cell Biology, Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern, 3000 Bern 9, Switzerland.


Annexins are a family of structurally related, Ca2+-sensitive proteins that bind to negatively charged phospholipids and establish specific interactions with other lipids and lipid microdomains. They are present in all eukaryotic cells and share a common folding motif, the "annexin core", which incorporates Ca2+- and membrane-binding sites. Annexins participate in a variety of intracellular processes, ranging from the regulation of membrane dynamics to cell migration, proliferation, and apoptosis. Here we focus on the role of annexins in cellular signaling during stress. A chronic stress response triggers the activation of different intracellular pathways, resulting in profound changes in Ca2+ and pH homeostasis and the production of lipid second messengers. We review the latest data on how these changes are sensed by the annexins, which have the ability to simultaneously interact with specific lipid and protein moieties at the plasma membrane, contributing to stress adaptation via regulation of various signaling pathways.

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