25 January 2010
The language of calcium signaling.
Ca(2+) signals are a core regulator of plant cell physiology and cellular responses to the environment. The channels, pumps, and carriers that underlie Ca(2+) homeostasis provide the mechanistic basis for generation of Ca(2+) signals by regulating movement of Ca(2+) ions between subcellular compartments and between the cell and its extracellular environment. The information encoded within the Ca(2+) transients is decoded and transmitted by a toolkit of Ca(2+)-binding proteins that regulate transcription via Ca(2+)-responsive promoter elements and that regulate protein phosphorylation. Ca(2+)-signaling networks have architectural structures comparable to scale-free networks and bow tie networks in computing, and these similarities help explain such properties of Ca(2+)-signaling networks as robustness, evolvability, and the ability to process multiple signals simultaneously.