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Summary

Over the past 15 years or so, numerous studies have sought to characterise how nuclear calcium (Ca2+) signals are generated and reversed, and to understand how events that occur in the nucleoplasm influence cellular Ca2+ activity, and vice versa. In this Commentary, we describe mechanisms of nuclear Ca2+ signalling and discuss what is known about the origin and physiological significance of nuclear Ca2+ transients. In particular, we focus on the idea that the nucleus has an autonomous Ca2+ signalling system that can generate its own Ca2+ transients that modulate processes such as gene transcription. We also discuss the role of nuclear pores and the nuclear envelope in controlling ion flux into the nucleoplasm.

Footnotes

  • The authors would like to thank Simon Walker and Hattie O'Nions for their help in the preparation of Fig. 2 and Daniel Higazi for preparation of Fig. 3B. This work was supported by the BBSRC and the British Heart Foundation (grants PG/06/034/20637 and PG/07/040). H.L.R. is a Royal Society University Research Fellow. I.S. is a BBSRC-funded PhD student.

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