Plasma Membrane Ca2+ ATPases as Dynamic Regulators of Cellular Calcium Handling

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Plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPases (PMCAs) are essential components of the cellular toolkit to regulate and fine-tune cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations. Historically, the PMCAs have been assigned a housekeeping role in the maintenance of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis. More recent work has revealed a perplexing multitude of PMCA isoforms and alternative splice variants, raising questions about their specific role in Ca2+ handling under conditions of varying Ca2+ loads. Studies on the kinetics of individual isoforms, combined with expression and localization studies suggest that PMCAs are optimized to function in Ca2+ regulation according to tissue- and cell-specific demands. Different PMCA isoforms help control slow, tonic Ca2+ signals in some cells and rapid, efficient Ca2+ extrusion in others. Localized Ca2+ handling requires targeting of the pumps to specialized cellular locales, such as the apical membrane of cochlear hair cells or the basolateral membrane of kidney epithelial cells. Recent studies suggest that alternatively spliced regions in the PMCAs are responsible for their unique targeting, membrane localization, and signaling cross-talk. The regulated deployment and retrieval of PMCAs from specific membranes provide a dynamic system for a cell to respond to changing needs of Ca2+ regulation.

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