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Science. 1995 Apr 14;268(5208):239-47.

Calcium signaling in neurons: molecular mechanisms and cellular consequences.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Neuronal activity can lead to marked increases in the concentration of cytosolic calcium, which then functions as a second messenger that mediates a wide range of cellular responses. Calcium binds to calmodulin and stimulates the activity of a variety of enzymes, including calcium-calmodulin kinases and calcium-sensitive adenylate cyclases. These enzymes transduce the calcium signal and effect short-term biological responses, such as the modification of synaptic proteins and long-lasting neuronal responses that require changes in gene expression. Recent studies of calcium signal-transduction mechanisms have revealed that, depending on the route of entry into a neuron, calcium differentially affects processes that are central to the development and plasticity of the nervous system, including activity-dependent cell survival, modulation of synaptic strength, and calcium-mediated cell death.

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