Signaling pathways between the plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum calcium stores

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2000 Aug;57(8-9):1272-86. doi: 10.1007/pl00000765.


This review discusses multiple ways in which the endoplasmic reticulum participates in and is influenced by signal transduction pathways. The endoplasmic reticulum provides a Ca2+ store that can be mobilized either by calcium-induced calcium release or by the diffusible messenger inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate. Depletion of endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ stores provides a signal that activates surface membrane Ca2+ channels, a process known as capacitative calcium entry. Depletion of endoplasmic reticulum stores can also signal long-term cellular responses such as gene expression and programmed cell death or apoptosis. In addition to serving as a source of cellular signals, the endoplasmic reticulum is also functionally and structurally modified by the Ca2+ and protein kinase C pathways. Elevated cytoplasmic Ca2+ causes a rearrangement and fragmentation of endoplasmic reticulum membranes. Protein kinase C activation reduces the storage capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ pool. In some cell types, protein kinase C inhibits capacitative calcium entry. Protein kinase C activation also protects the endoplasmic reticulum from the structural effects of high cytoplasmic Ca2+. The emerging view is one of a complex network of pathways through which the endoplasmic reticulum and the Ca2+ and protein kinase C signaling pathways interact at various levels regulating cellular structure and function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / physiology*
  • Humans


  • Calcium