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Calcium Ion as Intracellular Messenger and Cellular Toxin

By Smallwood, Joan

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Book Id: WPLBN0000224195
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.7 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005

Title: Calcium Ion as Intracellular Messenger and Cellular Toxin  
Author: Smallwood, Joan
Language: English
Subject: Government publications, United Nations., United Nations. Office for Disarmament Affairs
Collections: Government Library Collection, Disarmament Documents
Publication Date:
Publisher: United Nations- Office for Disarmament Affairs (Unoda)


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Smallwood, J. (n.d.). Calcium Ion as Intracellular Messenger and Cellular Toxin. Retrieved from

Government Reference Publication

Excerpt: When Prometheus stole fire from the gods and presented it to man, it was a gift of immense value (I) . It provided heat against the cold, light against the dark, and a means of communication. Yet, with this gift came also the destructive power of uncontrolled fire with its ability to imperil mans very existence. This myth of the gift of fire to man can serve as the life motif for the evolutionary gift of CaZ+ to the cell. This ion has become the means of regulating heat production and of facilitating intracellular communication. Yet, with this gift has also come a destructive potential: excess calcium ions are cellular toxins (2). Because of the potential for toxicity, an elaborate system has been developed to ensure the maintenance of cellular Ca2+ homeostasis over a wide range of circumstances (3). This creates a seeming paradox: changes in Ca2+ ion concentration are thought to serve a nearly universal messenger function in cells that possess very effective mechanisms by which to minimize any change in intracellular Ca2+ ion concentration. A resolution of this seeming paradox has come from the recognition that the messenger function of Caw is expressed in quite subtle ways within both a spatial and temporal context (4). The purpose of the present article is to review our present views of the mechanisms by which cellular Cast homeostasis is achieved and then to consider the messenger function of Caz+ within this context.


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