Author(s): Brini M, Carafoli E
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Abstract Ca2+-ATPases (pumps) are key actors in the regulation of Ca2+ in eukaryotic cells and are thus essential to the correct functioning of the cell machinery. They have high affinity for Ca2+ and can efficiently regulate it down to very low concentration levels. Two of the pumps have been known for decades (the SERCA and PMCA pumps); one (the SPCA pump) has only become known recently. Each pump is the product of a multigene family, the number of isoforms being further increased by alternative splicing of the primary transcripts. The three pumps share the basic features of the catalytic mechanism but differ in a number of properties related to tissue distribution, regulation, and role in the cellular homeostasis of Ca2+. The molecular understanding of the function of the pumps has received great impetus from the solution of the three-dimensional structure of one of them, the SERCA pump. These spectacular advances in the structure and molecular mechanism of the pumps have been accompanied by the emergence and rapid expansion of the topic of pump malfunction, which has paralleled the rapid expansion of knowledge in the topic of Ca2+-signaling dysfunction. Most of the pump defects described so far are genetic: when they are very severe, they produce gross and global disturbances of Ca2+ homeostasis that are incompatible with cell life. However, pump defects may also be of a type that produce subtler, often tissue-specific disturbances that affect individual components of the Ca2+-controlling and/or processing machinery. They do not bring cells to immediate death but seriously compromise their normal functioning.
This article was published in Physiol Rev
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability