Calcium and Proteases

R. G. Schnellmann, M. D. Covington

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Calcium ions (Ca2+) are key second messengers in a variety of eukaryotic cell signaling pathways, and they function in the regulation of diverse cellular processes. While it has become clear that Ca2+ stimulates many cellular processes, such as muscle contraction, cellular proliferation, gene expression, secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters, exocytosis, and chemotaxis, it has also been realized that Ca2+ is very toxic. Thus, the free intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) must be highly regulated to achieve a proper balance between Ca2+-mediated cell function and Ca2+-mediated cell death. The importance of intracellular calcium homeostasis is appreciated when one considers the number of subcellular compartments that function in regulating the [Ca2+]i as well as the diversity of cellular process that are controlled by Ca2+-signaling pathways. Each of these subcellular compartments can be targeted by chemicals or drugs, which can elicit an imbalance in intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis resulting in toxicity manifested as impaired cellular function or cell death. This chapter provides a basic understanding of the Ca2+ messenger system, Ca2+-activated proteases, such as calpains and PLA2, and their importance in cell injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCellular and Molecular Toxicology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780080468686
StatePublished - Aug 12 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Ca-ATPase
  • Calcium
  • Calcium channels
  • Calmodulin
  • Calpains
  • Proteases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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