Receptor-Activated Calcium Entry Channels—Who Does What, and When?

Science's STKE  27 Jul 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 243, pp. pe40
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2432004pe40

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The recent Science STKE E-Conference on Defining Calcium Entry Signals highlighted many of the outstanding problems and questions regarding the nature and regulation of the receptor-activated entry of Ca2+, particularly as it relates to Ca2+ signaling in nonexcitable cells. Frequently, these stem from the current lack of any clear candidates for the molecular identity of many of the major conductances involved. Moreover, there is considerable confusion in the field, largely as a result of the use of sometimes inappropriate or imprecise methodologies and inconsistent terminology. Nevertheless, much useful information is beginning to be revealed about the biophysical characterization of the fundamental properties of the channels involved and, at least in some cases, the specific conditions under which they are active. As a result, it is becoming clear that cells often contain various Ca2+ entry channels in addition to the ubiquitous store-operated, or capacitative, channels. These different channels are activated in distinct ways and operate under different conditions of stimulation.

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