Towards the Physics of Calcium Signalling in Plants

Calcium is an abundant element with a wide variety of important roles within cells. Calcium ions are inter- and intra-cellular messengers that are involved in numerous signalling pathways. Fluctuating compartment-specific calcium ion concentrations can lead to localised and even plant-wide oscillations that can regulate downstream events. Understanding the mechanisms that give rise to these complex patterns that vary both in space and time can be challenging, even in cases for which individual components have been identified. Taking a systems biology approach, mathematical and computational techniques can be employed to produce models that recapitulate experimental observations and capture our current understanding of the system. Useful models make novel predictions that can be investigated and falsified experimentally. This review brings together recent work on the modelling of calcium signalling in plants, from the scale of ion channels through to plant-wide responses to external stimuli. Some in silico results that have informed later experiments are highlighted.