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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2016 Aug 5;371(1700). pii: 20150418. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0418.

Calcium and ATP control multiple vital functions.

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Cardiff School of Biosciences and Systems Immunity Institute, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, Wales, UK
Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.


Life on Planet Earth, as we know it, revolves around adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as a universal energy storing molecule. The metabolism of ATP requires a low cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration, and hence tethers these two molecules together. The exceedingly low cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration (which in all life forms is kept around 50-100 nM) forms the basis for a universal intracellular signalling system in which Ca(2+) acts as a second messenger. Maintenance of transmembrane Ca(2+) gradients, in turn, requires ATP-dependent Ca(2+) transport, thus further emphasizing the inseparable links between these two substances. Ca(2+) signalling controls the most fundamental processes in the living organism, from heartbeat and neurotransmission to cell energetics and secretion. The versatility and plasticity of Ca(2+) signalling relies on cell specific Ca(2+) signalling toolkits, remodelling of which underlies adaptive cellular responses. Alterations of these Ca(2+) signalling toolkits lead to aberrant Ca(2+) signalling which is fundamental for the pathophysiology of numerous diseases from acute pancreatitis to neurodegeneration. This paper introduces a theme issue on this topic, which arose from a Royal Society Theo Murphy scientific meeting held in March 2016.This article is part of the themed issue 'Evolution brings Ca(2+) and ATP together to control life and death'.


adenosine triphosphate; calcium; calcium channels; evolution of calcium signalling

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