Controlling the urge for a Ca2+ surge: All-or-none Ca2+ release in neurons

Yuriy M. Usachev, Stanley A Thayer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Changes in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+](i)) convey signals that are essential to the life and death of neurons. Ca2+-induced Ca2+-release (CICR), a process in which a modest elevation in [Ca2+](i) is amplified by a secondary release of Ca2+ from stores within the cell, plays a prominent role in shaping neuronal [Ca2+](i) signals. When CICR becomes regenerative, an explosive increase in [Ca2+](i) generates a Ca2+ wave that spreads throughout the cell. A discrete threshold controls activation of this all-or-none behavior and cellular context adjusts the threshold. Thus, the store acts as a switch that determines whether a given pattern of electrical activity will produce a local or global Ca2+ signal. This gatekeeper function seems to control some forms of Ca2+-triggered plasticity in neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-750
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1999


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