Calcium Signaling Pathway – Term Paper Example
Calcium signaling pathway The human body consists of complex networks of biochemical systems responsible for regulating cellular mechanisms. One of these biochemical networks is the calcium-signaling pathway, which is responsible for successive interactions in vital bimolecular and chemical compounds of the cell. The calcium-signaling pathway works by introducing calcium ions into the cytoplasm of a cell through ion channels. This occurs when there is an extracellular change in the cell that triggers the introduction or evacuation of calcium ions. Normally, the intracellular concentration of calcium ions is 10-7 M while the extracellular concentration is 10-3 M (Nayak and Rajat, 1).
The cytoplasm concentration level of calcium ions is maintained at low levels as high levels precipitate phosphates. Phosphate is the cellular energy currency. Therefore, high intracellular calcium concentration can lead to the collapse of the cell. Calcium pumps and binding proteins located on the cell membrane maintain the concentration of calcium ions. The role of the binding proteins is to bind with free calcium ions when the concentration is high to maintain a low and balanced level of calcium ions in the cytoplasm. When the intracellular concentration of calcium ions increases, the buffer proteins bind with free calcium ions. The calcium pumps are responsible for maintaining low cytoplasm calcium level against the extracellular environment.
The cell membrane contains various kinds of calcium pumps based on the cell type such as mitochondrial membrane, plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum membrane among others (Nayak and Rajat, 2). The main role of the ryanodine receptors located in the endoplasmic and sarcoplasmic reticulum (ER/SR) is to regulate the release of calcium ions. This process, triggered by the movement of calcium ions in the cell, is a mechanism known as calcium signaling.
Nayak, Losiana and Rajat, de. Modularized study of human calcium signaling pathway. J. Biosci, 2007. Web. 4 March 2012.