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Biochimie. 2011 Dec;93(12):2054-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2011.05.019. Epub 2011 May 30.

Calcium decoding mechanisms in plants.

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Institut für Biologie und Biotechnologie der Pflanzen, Universität Münster, Schlossplatz 4, Münster, Germany.


Ca(2+) is a crucial second messenger that is involved in mediating responses to various biotic and abiotic environmental cues and in the regulation of many developmental processes in plants. Intracellular Ca(2+) signals are realized by spatially and temporally defined changes in Ca(2+) concentration that represent stimulus-specific Ca(2+) signatures. These Ca(2+) signatures are sensed, decoded and transmitted to downstream responses by a complex tool kit of Ca(2+) binding proteins that function as Ca(2+) sensors. Plants possess an extensive and complex array of such Ca(2+) sensors that convey the information presented in the Ca(2+) signatures into phosphorylation events, changes in protein-protein interactions or regulation of gene expression. Prominent Ca(2+) sensors like, Calmodulins (CaM), Calmodulin-like proteins (CMLs), calcium dependent protein kinases (CDPKs), Calcineurin B-like proteins (CBLs) and their interacting kinases (CIPKs) exist in complex gene families and form intricate signaling networks in plants that are capable of robust and flexible information processing. In this review we reflect on the recently gained knowledge about the mechanistic principles of these Ca(2+) sensors, their biochemical properties, physiological functions and newly identified targets proteins. These aspects will be discussed in the context of emerging functional principles that govern the information processing via these signaling modules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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