Intercellular Calcium Signaling in “Non-Excitable” Cells
Communication is the governing word of our epoch, growth of networks such as the internet or mobile phone are tangible proof of our need to communicate. These human developments follow the normal evolution of life. Indeed, the first life forms were single cells that did not communicate with each other. During evolution, prokaryotic cells, and later eukaryotes, began to associate into multicellular colonies. The key advantages of this “multicellularity” are intercellular cooperation and cellular specialization. Communication between cells is a fundamental requirement for the social behavior of cells, facilitating cooperation between cells of the same specialized group (tissue or organ) and between different cell groups, thereby ensuring the coordination of complex and intricate functions. Cells communicate with each other by several non-exclusive pathways, which may be direct or indirect. Direct communication involves intercellular junctions (known as gap junctions), connecting the cytosols of the adjacent cells and facilitating the transfer of low-molecular weight molecules. Thus, the molecules that act as intracellular messengers (cAMP, InsP3, Ca2+) may also act on other cells, by passing from one cell to another via the gap junctions. Indirect communication involves the emission by certain cells of a biological messenger into the extracellular environment. Embryogenesis, tissue ontogeny, cell growth and regeneration and the coordination of many tissue and cell functions could not occur in the absence of direct or indirect communication between cells.
KeywordsCalcium Wave Inositol Trisphosphate Junctional Coupling Intracellular Messenger Indirect Communication
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