The Calcium Pumping ATPase of Heart Plasma Membrane

  • Ernesto Carafoli
  • Pico Caroni
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 194)


At each beat, Ca2+ penetrates into heart cells through a gated channel. According to the prevailing theory, this promotes the release of a much larger amount of Ca2+ from sarcoplasmic reticulum to activate contraction. It is immediately evident that the trigger Ca2+ that has entered the cell must be reexported to prevent cellular Ca2+ overload. Since Ca2+ in the cytosol of heart cells is µM or less, whereas in the extracellular spaces it is mM, re-export evidently requires active transport. Two systems are responsible for it, a Na+/Ca2+ exchanger and a specific ATPase: they work in parallel, but have different kinetic properties, which qualify them for different roles. The ATPase has high Ca2+ affinity but low pumping rate, and can thus be considered as the fine tuner of cell Ca2+, which functions in heart in the same way as in all other cells where it has been demonstrated. The Na+/Ca2+ exchanger has lower Ca2+ affinity but high transport rate, and may thus be assumed to function at peak activation, when large amounts of Ca2+ must be ejected, but high affinity is not necessarily required due to the presumably increased concentration of Ca2+ at the inner side of the sarcolemma.


ATPase Activity Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Acidic Phospholipid Couple Enzyme Assay Cardiac Sarcolemma 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernesto Carafoli
    • 1
  • Pico Caroni
    • 1
  1. 1.Lab. of BiochemistrySwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)ZurichSwitz.

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