Calcium signaling in neurons: molecular mechanisms and cellular consequences

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Science  14 Apr 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5208, pp. 239-247
DOI: 10.1126/science.7716515


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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