PerspectiveSignal Transduction

The Calcium Entry Pas de Deux

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Science  03 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5458, pp. 1604-1605
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5458.1604

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The careful regulation of calcium ion entry by the cell is essential for activation of numerous signal transduction cascades. It is well-established that the depletion of internal calcium ion stores such as those of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) results in the opening of plasma membrane channels (SOCs) allowing calcium ions to flow into the cell. However, the mechanism by which calcium ion store depletion and the opening of SOCs are coupled is not clear. In a Perspective, Berridge and colleagues discuss new findings ( Ma et al. ) demonstrating that the inositol trisphosphate receptor in the ER membrane forms a physical connection with the SOCs in the plasma membrane. Inhibitors that block activation of inositol trisphosphate receptors prevent opening of SOCs in response to depletion of internal calcium stores.