Changes in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+](i)) convey signals that are essential to the life and death of neurons. Ca2+-induced Ca2+-release (CICR), a process in which a modest elevation in [Ca2+](i) is amplified by a secondary release of Ca2+ from stores within the cell, plays a prominent role in shaping neuronal [Ca2+](i) signals. When CICR becomes regenerative, an explosive increase in [Ca2+](i) generates a Ca2+ wave that spreads throughout the cell. A discrete threshold controls activation of this all-or-none behavior and cellular context adjusts the threshold. Thus, the store acts as a switch that determines whether a given pattern of electrical activity will produce a local or global Ca2+ signal. This gatekeeper function seems to control some forms of Ca2+-triggered plasticity in neurons.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - 1999|